Gendering the enlightenment: conflicting images of progress in the poetry of Anna Lætitia Barbauld

Bradshaw, Penelope (1998) Gendering the enlightenment: conflicting images of progress in the poetry of Anna Lætitia Barbauld. Women's Writing, 5 (3). pp. 353-371.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/09699089800200051

Abstract

Anna Laetitia Barbauld spent her formative years at the celebrated dissenting Academy at Warrington, from where she assimilated her earliest perceptions of Enlightenment thinking. It was here that she met many of the important intellectual figures of the Enlightenment with whom she would remain lifelong friends, and she inherited the Academy's tenets of toleration, liberal progressive thinking and the defence of liberty. In her poetry, however, images of the Enlightenment are problematic and demonstrate an inner conflict between an ideal set of Enlightenment values reflecting those at Warrington, which she feminises, and an opposing set of Enlightenment values, involving control, exploitation and repression, which she masculinises. This article examines this conflict in Barbauld's poetry and looks at why the feminine agenda of freedom, although strongly valorised by the poems, is finally doomed and overcome by the darker masculine project of control.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Women's Writing
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1747-5848
Departments: Pre June 2020 Academic Departments and Services > Academic Departments > Institute of Arts (IOA) > Humanities
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2010 11:52
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2020 19:20
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/389

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