Anna Laetitia Barbauld, pre Romantic woman poet
Ieri ho trovato la formidabile Aphra Behn che ha aperto la strada a Defoe (che invece è ancora considerato “the father of the English novel…), oggi ho scoperto Anna Laetitia Barbauld che è stata una delle tante bravissime poetesse che sono state fondamentali per la nascita del Romanticismo inglese, i tanto celebrati English Romantic poets della first and second generation; ma di Anna Laetitia e delle altre non c’è alcuna traccia sui libri di letteratura, perché? Leggete cosa è stata capace di fare durante la sua vita, semplicemente straordinaria…
A “woman of letters” who published in multiple genres, Barbauld had a successful writing career at a time when female professional writers were rare. She was a noted teacher at the Palgrave Academy and an innovative children’s writer; her primers provided a model for pedagogy for more than a century. Her essays demonstrated that it was possible for a woman to be publicly engaged in politics, and other women authors such as Elizabeth Benger emulated her. Barbauld’s literary career spanned numerous periods in British literary history: her work promoted the values of both the Enlightenment and Sensibility, and her poetry was foundational to the development of British Romanticism. Barbauld was also a literary critic, and her anthology of 18th-century British novels helped establish the canon as known today.
Barbauld’s career as a poet ended abruptly in 1812 with the publication of Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, which criticized Britain’s participation in the Napoleonic Wars. Vicious reviews shocked Barbauld, and she published nothing else during her lifetime. Her reputation was further damaged when many of the Romantic poets she had inspired in the heyday of the French Revolution turned against her in their later, more conservative, years. Barbauld was remembered only as a pedantic children’s writer during the 19th century, and largely forgotten during the 20th century, but the rise of feminist literary criticism in the 1980s renewed interest in her works and restored her place in literary history.