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Anne Bradstreet


Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) is one of the most important figures in the history of American Literature.  She is considered by many to be the first American poet, and her first collection of poems, "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, By a Gentlewoman of Those Parts", doesn't contain any of her best known poems, it was the first book written by a woman to be published in the United States.  Mrs. Bradstreet's work also serves as a document of the struggles of a Puritan wife against the hardships of New England colonial life, and in some way is a testament to plight of the women of the age.  Anne's life was a constant struggle, from her difficult adaptation to the rigors of the new land, to her constant battle with illness. 

It is clear to see that Anne's faith was exemplary, and so was her love for children and her husband, Governor Simon Bradstreet.   Anne's poems were written mainly during the long periods of loneliness while Simon was away on political errands. Anne, who was a well educated woman, also spent much time with her children, reading to them and teaching them as her father had taught her when she was young.   While it is rather easy for us to view Puritan ideology in a bad light because of it's attitude towards women and strict moral code, her indifference to material wealth, her humility and her spirituality, regardless of religion, made her into a positive, inspirational role model for any of us. 

Another one of Anne's most important qualities was her strong intuition, although only subtly hinted at in her work, probably for fear of reprisal from the deeply religious Puritan community, one cannot help but feel her constant fascination with the human mind, and spirit, and  inner guidance.

Her style is deceptively simple, yet speaks of a woman of high intelligence and ideals who was very much in love, and had unconditional faith.  While it was difficult for women to air their views in the 17th Century, Anne Bradstreet did so with ease, as her rich vocabulary and polyvalent knowledge brought a lyrical, yet logical quality to her work which made it pleasant for anyone to read.

This website is intended as a homage to Mrs. Bradstreet and her work, and we have included several of her best poems, and her most famous quotes, in what we hope will be an enlightening, and entertaining experience, and will give some insight into the life of America's first woman poet.


If you would like to know more about Anne Bradstreet and her poetry, we recommend the following books.


Beyond Stateliest Marble : The Passionate Femininity of Anne Bradstreet (Leaders in Action Series)
-- by Douglas Wilson, George Grant (Editor); Hardcover


Gender Roles, Literary Authority, and Three American Women Writers : Anne Dudley Bradstreet, Mercy Otis Warren, Margaret Fuller Ossoli (Age of revolut)
by Theresa Freda Nicolay (Hardcover - December 1995)

Poems:

Works Of Anne Bradstreet, The
by Anne Bradstreet (Library Binding - January 1999)

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Last modified: January 16, 2003