Poetry

The Author to Her Book

Anne Bradstreet wrote her famous poem “The Author to Her Book” after her first collection of poems was published in 1650. The collection, titled The Tenth Muse, had been taken to England by her brother-in-law Reverend John Woodbridge and published without her consent. While some have speculated that Bradstreet only denied her hand in the publication because of her Puritan background, the self-deprecating and offended tone of this poem suggests that she believed her poems were unprepared for public view. “The Author to her Book” features a regretful speaker addressing her written work. She uses an extended metaphor to compare the book to an ill-cared-for child whose messy attire and imperfections represent its mother’s failures in childrearing. However, for all of her anger at the publication and shame over the state of the work published, the speaker maintains a sympathetic tone. Those who “snatched” the work from her are figured as foolish friends; the speaker shows surprising attachment and affection for the work itself.

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