Winner, 2011 Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
2009 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice
Against the background of the American and French revolutions, the Napoleonic Wars, and the struggle for religious equality in Great Britain, a brilliant, embattled woman strove to defend Enlightenment values to her nation. Poet, teacher, essayist, political writer, editor, and critic, Anna Letitia Barbauld was venerated by contemporaries on both sides of the Atlantic, among them the young Walter Scott, the young Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Boston Unitarians such as William Ellery Channing. After decades in the historical limbo into which almost all work by women writers of her era was swept, Barbauld's writings on citizenly ethics, identity politics, church-state relations, and empire are still deeply relevant today. Inquiring and witty as well as principled and passionate, Barbauld was a voice for the Enlightenment in an age of revolution and reaction.
Based on more than fifteen years of research in dozens of libraries and archives across five countries, this is the first full-length biography of one of the foremost women writers in Georgian England.
William McCarthy is professor emeritus of English at Iowa State University. He is the coeditor of The Poems of Anna Letitia Barbauld and the author of Hester Thrale Piozzi: Portrait of a Literary Woman.
Preface 2015PrefaceMarch 17901. Ties of Kindred2. Home at Kibworth3. Soul-Building4. Warrington5. Miss Aikin6. Land of Matrimony7. Devotion8. Enlightenment in a Suffolk Village9. Mother Tongue10. How They Lived11. Pursuit of Happiness12. Revolutions13. Sins of the Nation14. "Our Political Duties"15. In Middle Age16. Subjects Light and Grave17. Racketing18. The Highest Literary Character in England19. Wounds20. "Night, Gothic Night"21. Legacy to Young Ladies22. Good MorningAfterwordAcknowledgmentsAppendixesA. The Aikin House in KibworthB. Rochemont Barbauld's DisorderC. IconographyD. Aikin-Barbauld Family TreeAbbreviations Used in the NotesNotesBarbauld-Aikin SourcesGeneral BibliographyIndex