Anna Laetitia Barbauld (née Aikin)

(20 June 1743 - 9 March 1825)
Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825)

Biographical note

Born Anna Aikin, daughter of a dissenting clergyman and schoolmaster, John Aikin (1713-1780), and his wife, Anna Laetitia Barbauld was educated privately and at Warrington Academy for dissenters. Here she met the scientist and minister Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) who became her mentor. She began writing poems in her twenties on a wide variety of subjects. Her early collection of Poems (1773) gained her widespread attention and brought her in contact with a number of fellow women writers. In 1774, she married Rochemont Barbauld (1749-1808), a clergyman. Together they ran a boys' school in Palgrave, Suffolk, and later in Hampstead, and Barbauld began writing educational books. Among her many correspondents were Elizabeth Montagu, Dr. Johnson, Richardson, Joseph Johnson, Joanna Baillie, Hannah More, and Fanny Burney. Barbauld continued to publish poems throughout the 1780s and 90s, often on political subjects such as the French revolution and the abolition of slavery, which were published in journals and magazines. She contributed prefaces to poetry collections by Akenside and Collins and later in life came into contact with the early Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. Her niece Lucy Aikin edited an edition of her Works in 1825.

Bibliography

ODNB 1324; NCBEL 639-40; DMI 1268; DLB 109

Editions

  • McCarthy, William and Elizabeth Kraft, eds. The Poems of Anna Laetitia Barbauld. Athens; London: University of Georgia Press, 1994. Print.
  • McCarthy, William and Elizabeth Kraft, eds. Anna Laetitia Barbauld: Selected Poetry and Prose. Peterborough, ONT: Broadview Press, 2002. Print.

Bibliography

Biography

  • McCarthy, William. Anna Letitia Barbauld: Voice of the Enlightenment. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 2008. Print.

Reference

  • Baines, Paul, Julian Ferraro, Pat Rogers, eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Eighteenth-Century Writers and Writing, 1660-1789. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 14-15. Print.
  • Radcliffe, David H., ed. Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825). Spenser and the Tradition: ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830. Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Tech, 2006. Web. 21 May 2016. http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/AuthorRecord.php?recordid=33202.

Criticism

  • Guest, Harriet. Small Change: Women, Learning, Patriotism, 1750-1810. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2000. 220-51. Print.
  • Janowitz, Anne. Women Romantic poets: Anna Barbauld and Mary Robinson. Tavistock: Northcote House in assn with the British Council, 2004. Print.
  • Keach, William. Barbauld, Romanticism, and the Survival of Dissent. Essays and Studies 51 (1998): 44-61. Print.
  • McCarthy, William. 'We Hoped the Woman Was Going to Appear': Repression, Desire, and Gender in Anna Laetitia Barbauld's Early Poems. Feldman, Paula R. and Theresa M. Kelley, eds. Romantic Women Writers: Voices and Countervoices. Hanover; London: UP of New England, 1995. 113-37. Print.