Literary Analysis Of The Author To Her Book By Anne Bradstreet

In The Author to Her Book is a poem, which was found in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, conveys Anne Bradstreet or the speaker is overwhelmed in wavering and inner thoughts over the merits and shortcomings of her abilities and “The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America (a title that her brother-in-law, John Woodbridge, had chosen himself), Mistress Bradstreet: the Untold Life of Americas First Poet” the book that Bradstreet wrote. As human beings, we associate and understand each other through comparable understandings. At times, it is hard to understand someone when that person is not somebody that person knows personally. Comparable understandings and shared ties are what allow people to extend our genuine appreciation and understanding for one another’s thoughts. In The Author to Her Book, there is an ornate internal struggle between ego and indignity that The Author to Her Book demonstrates itself through an prolonged metaphor, which, Bradstreet compares her book to her own child.

The Author to Her Book conveys some of her sentiments about The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America (book). Bradstreet felt when her most intimate feelings were made know to “the critics” (line 20) with her book that was published. Louisa Hall writes, “Critics in Bradstreet’s time admired harmoniousness of prosody, not prosody that functioned as hat Helen Vendler calls ‘a cloning of the kinesthetic perceptions of the poet’. Bradstreet was aware of the standards of her time “(Early American Literature). Furthermore, Bradstreet also describes to how her book came to be published. Thomas Dudley, her father, told her about, “writing and Christianity went hand in hand, that the poet’s job was not simply to invent a line of pentameter but to consider how best to serve God while reading and composing” (The Washington Times). The average person could not describe to the anguish-stricken on how Bradstreet felt with her thoughts. Bradstreet’s poetry had written articulated her feelings in one way that most women during that time period did not have the ability to do. Many people would probably be confused onto why Bradstreet the publishing of her works would be so distressing when her works had brought. Bradstreet much personal recognition and brought many people enjoyable analysis.

Consequently, Bradstreet could not completely write a direct poem to articulate on how she may have felt about her stolen feelings. Only other poets or writers would be able identify with Bradstreet. In order for Bradstreet’s for someone that read The Author to Her Book to feel her anguish and delight, Bradstreet had to use a situation to allow her readers could understand the many feelings that she felt while writing The Author to Her Book. Most of the females who would have ready The Author to Her Book were also already mothers or someday would be a mother. This shared understand opened a thought for understanding. By relating her poem or poem to a child, Bradstreet is able to gain the sympathy of her readers and aid them joy the words behind her poem. In line one, Bradstreet shows how, Bradstreet shows how she feels about The Author to Her Book or her personal book, which Bradstreet names an “ill-formed offspring” (line 1). Bradstreet presents her book with human attributes throughout The Author to Her Book to develop the response of the poem.

Bradstreet continually expresses directly to her book like it were her own child. In lines, “Who after birth didst by my side remain, / Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true, / Who thee abroad, exposed to public view, / Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,” (lines-2-5) The Author to Her Book depicts the speaker as the mother and conveys how Bradstreet or the speaker feels self-conscious that her book was published before Bradstreet was ready to share the book with an audience. Lisa Day-Lindsey writes about Bradstreet’s thought about an audience, “Knowing her immediate audience, Bradstreet conveys the anxiety of Puritan women who feared not only an abnormal childbirth, but also the public castigation of her motivations and influences” (The Explicator). The book was published without her permission. Bradstreet declares that the book (her child was) “snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true” (line 3). Essentially, Bradstreet is asserting a trusted person “snatched” her work from her without consent to take her poetry to England to be printed. Woodbridge wrote the introduction for The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America (book) while he was in London. The part of introduction reads, “honoured, and esteemed where she lives, for her gracious demeanor, her eminent parts, her pious conversation, her courteous disposition, her exact diligence in her place, and discreet managing of her family occasion”. Woodbridge further writes about Bradstreet, “the worst effect of his [the reader’s] reading will be unbelief, which will make him question whether it be a woman’s work, and ask, is it possible?” Woodbridge tried to reassure the male readers to read her poetry (Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of Americas First Poet). If it were not been for her Woodbridge taking her book back to England, and getting her poetry printed they may have never been known.

The understanding and sensitivity Bradstreet shares with her poem are similar to a mother and child. This bond between mother and child was intruded on upon when her book was “exposed to public view” (line 4). The juxtaposition of Woodbridge getting her book printed is the reason of feeling that the speaker feels in this poem. Ironically, the next thing Bradstreet writes is the remorse that the speaker has been thrust upon her by not being able to edit or perfect the work before the book was published. Bradstreet originally named the poem The Tenth Muse. (Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of Americas First Poet). This is demonstrated in line five where Bradstreet writes, “Made thee in rags,” as to say her book is like a child dressed in rags. In lines “Where errors were not lessened (all may judge). / At thy return my blushing was not small, / My rambling brat (in print) should mother call, /I cast thee by as one unfit for light,” (lines 6-9). Bradstreet likens the humiliation that she feels due to her not being perfect to the humiliation a parent feels due to an unruly child. Bradstreet or the speaker feels embarrassed that the “errors were not lessened” (line 6) before the book was printed and mentions that the book or the child was a “rambling brat” who is “one unfit for light” (line 8-9). Also, her book or child was taken from her before she had time to develop the child to go out into the world. Bradstreet is describing the same thought that a mother may feel if her child was bad or misbehaved. Bradstreet or the speaker is also showing how she may have felt as a writer whose book had been published before Bradstreet was ready.

The shame that Bradstreet may have may been describing her errors that she in her book. Another thought is that a mother may feel the most humiltated is when a child disobeys her in public where everyone can see. This action of the child would reflect badly on the parent or mother in this poem. The action would make her look as if Bradstreet does not discipline her child. In thoughts to the metaphor of The Author to Her Book, Bradstreet does not feel embarrassment. Bradstreet made the error or mistake but because anyone could now see her mistakes as Bradstreet stated in “all may judge” (line 6). In lines 10 through 14, The Author to Her Book continues to show Bradstreet’s wishes to correct the errors. Bradstreet writes, “I was thy face, but more defects I saw” (Line 12). Conversely, Bradstreet discloses that she loved her book unconditionally, which is just as a mother would love her child. The child is what their fathers and mothers try to make out to be. There is no child that is perfect. Perfection is not possible. There is nothing that a parent can do make a child perfect. In the end, the unconditional love of a mother ignores any faults or shortcomings. In a similar thought, Bradstreet writes, “Made thee in rags, / halting to th’ press to trudge (Line 5). Bradstreet wishes that she could make her book perfect, but Bradstreet understands that correcting another flaw would merely expose another flaw. “And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw, / I Stretched thy joints to make thee even feet / Yet still thou run’st more hobbling than is meet (line 13-16). Upon understanding and trying to correct these mistakes, this would only create other mistakes. Bradstreet can take pleasure in knowing that her book is as good as the book can be.

Bradstreet can show how a mother feels for her child is something that limitation cannot take away. Bradstreet is pleased that child for being he or she is and what he or she is and that is how Bradstreet feels about her book. Most mothers and fathers ponder on how the world will think their child. Consequently, Bradstreet ponders on how her book will be reflected. Mothers know how brutal the world can be and mothers know that no one will love their child as she would do. Bradstreet sees the same about her book. The thoughts about the book will be “’mongst vulgars” and “in critic’s hands” (line 19-20). Finally, Bradstreet leaves her child with a thought, be known for his or her own value. In The Author to Her Book, Bradstreet uses a drawn-out metaphor to highlight the speaker’s displeasure with the publishing of her book, but expresses how she cannot turn her back on her own work or book. Consequently, Bradstreet shows the dilemma Bradstreet feels due to her flawed work. The key belief or thought illustrates throughout The Author to Her Book as Bradstreet battles with the belief or thought of her book being published when the book is fully perfected. The Author to Her Book also shows a deeper understanding that no words certainly can describe which we have felt at any given time period. A person may have part of ourselves exposed to the world for everyone to see and people will offer their opinions on that person’s work.

Works Cited

  • “Nation's First Poet, a Light Verse Laureate.” The Washington Times, 30 Apr. 2005,
  • Davidson, Michael. 'Introduction: Women Writing Disability.' Legacy, vol. 30, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1-17. ProQuest,
  • Day-Lindsey, Lisa. 'Bradstreet's THE AUTHOR TO HER BOOK.' The Explicator, vol. 64, no. 2, 2006, pp. 66-69. ProQuest,
  • Gordon, Charlotte. Mistress Bradstreet: the Untold Life of Americas First Poet. Little Brown & Company, 2007.
  • Hall, Louisa. “The Influence of Anne Bradstreet’s Innovative Errors.” Early American Literature, vol. 48, no. 1, Mar. 2013, pp. 1–27. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1353/eal.2013.0008.
  • Levine, Robert S. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. W.W. Norton, 2017. 
16 December 2021
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