Anne Bradstreet Biography

Anne Bradstreet was the first poet of the New World.

Anne Bradstreet was born in Norhampton, England in the year 1612, it is believed. She was born Anne Dudley, one of five children born to Thomas Dudley and Dorothy Yorke. Anne was next to the eldest child born. Anne did not have a formal education, but was taught many things because an education was important to the Dudley family. She learned by reading and studying such things as the bible, the encyclopedia, poetry, keeping a journal and more. When she was 18 years old, in the year 1628, she married Simon Bradstreet. Even though the marriage may have been arranged by her father, it was full of love, as you can tell by reading her poetry.

Both families, the Dudleys and the Bradstreets, moved to the New World in 1630. The trip to America was a three month journey aboard the ship Arbella. The ship landed in Salem, Massachusetts. Upon arriving they did not find what they had expected. What they found was disease and a shortage of supplies among the colonies. After coming to this raw New World both families moved quite often, but finally in the year 1645 they were settled in North Andover, Massachusetts. Anne encountered many health problems in her life in America.

In the year 1633 Anne gave birth to her first child. Simon became a judge and eventually took the position of governor of Massachusetts. Together he and Anne had eight children.

In those times it was very rare to find women poets anywhere. Anne Bradstreet is known for writing on the verity and facts before her. Her individualism is due to her choice of material more than her style. Her poetry reflects Puritan thinking. Her work is known to be elegant and genteel.

Anne Bradstreet's life was both complicated and unique. She was in a unique situation being one of the first to come to the New World. Being a daughter of a governor and being a wife and mother of eight children put her in a situation where she had many inner conflicts. She was an enlightened woman of her time and she did not believe in the subordination of women.

Many of Bradstreet's poems reflect frustration because she believed in being an individual. The Puritan culture taught against this very thing. Anne was still a model wife and mother. She wrote of her inner conflicts such as desires of the flesh. Religious issues and gender were other topics she was interested in writing about. "Contemplations" is said to be her best work and is put into the category of the Romantics. Even though her work was unique for that time, it was not censured. All of her work was accepted by the people of the colonies and of England.

Anne Bradstreets works include:

"The Tenth Muse"""published in 1650

"The Flesh and the Spirit"""written in 1660 and published in 1867

"Upon a Fit of Sickness"""written in 1632 and published in 1678

"To Her Most Honoured Father Thomas Dudley"""written in 1642 and published in 1650

"Contemplations" -written in 1664-65 and published in 1678

"The Foure Elements"""published in 1650

"Of the foure Humours"""published in 1650

"The Four Seasons of the Yeare"""published in 1650

"The Foure Monarchies"¦"""written in 1643 and published in 1650

"To my Dear Children"""written in 1656 and published in 1867

"What God is like to him I serve"""published in 1867

"To my Dear and Loving Husband"""written in 1641 and published in 1678

"Mans constitution", "The Four Ages of Man"""published in 1650

"As weary pilgrim, now at rest"""written in 1669 and published in 1678

Anne Bradstreet had the first book published by a woman author and printed in the United States. The first edition was printed in London in 1650. Anne's brother-in-law, John Woodridge, traveled to England and had her book published without her knowledge or consent. The book is called, "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up in America." This was the only book published in her lifetime. Her other works were collected by one of her children and published after her death.

Quotes by Anne Bradstreet---

"If what I do prove well, it won't advance,

They'll say it's stolen, or else it was by chance."

"Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are."

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;

if we did not sometimes taste of adversity,

prosperity would not be so welcome."

"Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish."

The work of Anne Bradstreet was not that of a rebel but it was not typical of a Puritan woman of that time period. Her work is very important and was the pride of her family and her friends. Cotton Mather, a famous poet, said of her work, "her poetry has been celebrated in both Englands." Not until the 1960's was the work of Anne Bradstreet really and truly recognized as being as important as it is in American literature.

When Anne Bradstreet died in the year 1672, it was a great loss to us all.

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