The Author To Her Book By Anne Bradstreet Not Just a Wife Anne Bradstreet was America’s first noteworthy poet in spite of the fact that she was a woman. Both the daughter and wife of Massachusetts governors, Bradstreet suffered all of the hardships of colonial life, was a mother, and still found time to write. Her poem, “The Author to Her Book,” is an example of Bradstreet’s excellent use of literary techniques while expressing genuine emotion and using domestic subject matter. Because her father was a studious man, Bradstreet was able to receive a good education and was well read. She enjoyed serious and religious writings and admired many of the great poets of the time, among these Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser and John Donne.
In fact she admired them so much that she imitated many of the literary devices that they used. ” The Author to Her Book”, written upon the unauthorized publication of a book of her poems, is a conceit, or extended metaphor. Bradstreet compares her book to a baby, calling it the “ill-formed offspring of [her] feeble brain.” She continues this conceit by calling her book her “rambling brat (in print)” and expressing the true “affection” she has for it. Just as a mother would wash and dress an infant before taking it out of the house, Bradstreet would have enjoyed the opportunity to revise her poems before they were put on display before the literary world. Bradstreet did revise her poems for a second edition and compares this revision to cleaning a child; “I washed thy face, but more defects I saw, And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.” Simply, the better she would make her book, the more little mistakes she would notice, just as a mother would notice any speck of dirt that was left on her virtually spotless child.
Bradstreet goes on with her conceit by adding another literary device that was used by the poets she admired – the pun. “I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet.” Just as a mother of that time would have stretched her baby’s legs to make them equal in length, Bradstreet worked to make the feet of her poem equal, in this case five feet – a pentameter – long, which is similar to the style of other poets during the colonial time. She ends her poem by reminding her “baby” to be sure to tell people that is has no father, only a poor mother. “The Author to Her Book” shows Bradstreet’s feelings about the unauthorized printing of her work. She expresses her modesty about her ability to write by comparing her work to “homespun cloth” meaning that is was coarse and unrefined. Bradstreet also uses humor to express her feelings about the publication of her work without corrections, but there is still some genuine discomfort.
“At thy return my blushing was not small” shows that she was a bit embarrassed about the world reading her rough drafts, but she amends her view towards the book as the poem continues. “Yet being mine own, at length affection would Thy blemishes amend .. ” illustrates that she truly loves her poetry, and after it is “cleaned” she takes pride in it. She show her delight in her work with the admonition “If for thy Father asked, say thou had’st none.” Bradstreet wanted everyone to recognize her for the talented woman writer that she was, but requested this acknowledgment in a humble way. Because she was a woman writer, Anne Bradstreet chose to write about domestic things. In “The Author to Her Book” Bradstreet writes about something she knows.
Being a mother of eight, Bradstreet knew about children, and therefore, compares her book to a baby. Her domestic subject matter was unusual because the men of the time wrote about adventure and childbearing, while dangerous, was not thought to be exciting. Bradstreet brought her personal experiences as a woman into her writing and also provided an opening to a whole new dimension to American literature. Soon she would be the great poet being emulated by others. Edward Taylor is an example of this. In his poem “Huswifery,” Taylor used the spinning wheel – a domestic item-as his metaphor. Anne Bradstreet was a devoted wife and an excellent mother.
She had a brilliant understanding of literary devices like the pun and the conceit. She drew from her life experiences to find wonderful comparisons and subjects, and used her writing to express her heartfelt emotions of embarrassment, love, and delight. Anne Bradstreet was a wife and mother, but she was also an extraordinary and inspiring writer. Poetry.