Anna Letitia Barbauld: Selected Poetry and Prose
  • Publication Date: September 24, 2001
  • ISBN: 9781551112411 / 1551112418
  • 522 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Anna Letitia Barbauld: Selected Poetry and Prose

  • Publication Date: September 24, 2001
  • ISBN: 9781551112411 / 1551112418
  • 522 pages; 5½" x 8½"

At her death in 1825, Anna Letitia Barbauld was considered one of the great writers of her time. Distinguished as a poet and essayist, she was also in innovator in children’s literature, an eloquent supporter of liberal politics, and a literary critic of stature. This edition includes a generous selection of her poetry and the first comprehensive body of her prose in more than a century, with essays—some never before reprinted—on literature, religion, education, prejudice, women’s fashions, and class conflict.


“As a poet, essayist, editor, and teacher, Anna Letitia Barbauld attained a position of eminence in her own time, distinguishing herself in a tradition of Dissenting writers, such as Priestley, Wollstonecraft, and Coleridge. McCarthy and Kraft’s fascinating historical introduction and notes place Barbauld’s life and work in the context of middle-class, Dissenting culture, noting her complex, and often misunderstood, positions on womanhood, Presbyterianism, and politics. Her poems are now regarded as landmarks in the dawn of English Romanticism, and the editors of this edition offer a generous selection of Barbauld’s widely admired prose writings, many of which have not been reprinted until now. Here as poet and essayist Barbauld’s rhetorical powers and commitment to justice, ingenuousness, tolerance, and imagination, to borrow her own phrase, ‘shine out.’ The volume is indispensable.” — Michele Martinez, Trinity College, Connecticut

“McCarthy and Kraft are the pre-eminent authorities on Barbauld. Extraordinarily well-researched and readable, this is a superb edition of works by one of the finest and most influential writers of the Romantic era.” — Paula Feldman, University of South Carolina

Anna Letitia Barbauld: A Brief Chronology
Abbreviations of Titles Cited in the Notes
A Note on the Text

An Address to the Deity
To Mrs. P[riestley], with some Drawings of Birds and Insects
The Invitation: To Miss B*****
To Dr. Aikin on his Complaining that she neglected him, October 2Oth 1768
On the Death of Mrs. Jennings
On the Backwardness of the Spring 1771
The Mouse’s Petition
An Inventory of the Furniture in Dr. Priestley’s Study
Song I
Song V
To Wisdom
Hymn II
Hymn V
The Groans of the Tankard
Verses written in an Alcove
Hymn to Content
Ode to Spring
To a Lady, with some painted Flowers
Verses on Mrs. Rowe
A Summer Evening’s Meditation
Hymn VI
To Mr. Barbauld, November 14,1778
Love and Time
Lines to be spoken by Thomas Denman, on the Christmas
before his Birthday, when he was four Years old
Written on a Marble
A School Eclogue
Autumn: A Fragment
To the Baron de Stonne, who had wished at the next Transit
of Mercury to find Himself again between Mrs. Laborde
and Mrs. B[arbauld]
Epistle to Dr. Enfield, on his Revisiting Warrington
in 1789
Epistle to William Wilberforce, Esq. on the Rejection of the
Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade
The Apology of the Bishops, in Answer to “Bonner’s Ghost”
The Rights of Woman
Hymn VII
To a Great Nation
To Dr. Priestley. Dec. 29, 1792
Hymn: “Ye are the salt of the earth”
To the Poor
Inscription for an Ice-House
To Mr. S. T. Coleridge
To a Little Invisible Being who is expected soon to become Visible
On the Death of Mrs. Martineau
[Lines for Anne Wakefield on her Wedding to Charles
Rochemont Aikin, with a Pair of Chimney Ornaments
in the Figures of two Females seated with open
West End Fair
The Pilgrim
Dirge: Written November 1808
On the King’s Illness
Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, a Poem
A Thought on Death
The First Fire
The Caterpillar
On the Death of the Princess Charlotte
The Baby-House
Lines written at the Close of the Year
Against Inconsistency in our Expectations
An Enquiry into those Kinds of Distress which Excite agreeable Sensations
Thoughts on the Devotional Taste, on Sects, and on Establishments
Hymns in Prose for Children
An Address to the Opposers of the Repeal of the Corporation
and Test Acts
Fashion, a Vision
Pieces from Evenings at Home

  • The Young Mouse. A Fable
    Things by their Right Names
    The Four Sisters

Sins of Government, Sins of the Nation; or, a Discourse for the
Fast, Appointed on April 19,1793
What Is Education?
On Prejudice
Thoughts on the Inequality of Conditions
Letter from Grimalkin to Selima
From “Life of Samuel Richardson, with Remarks on his Writings”
From The British Novelists

  • On the Origin and Progress of Novel-Writing
    From Fielding
    Mrs. Inchbald
    Mrs. Charlotte Smith
    Miss Burney
    Mrs. Radcliife

[Letter to the Gentleman’s Magazine in Defense of Maria Edgeworth’s Tale, “The Dun”]
Dialogue in the Shades
On Female Studies

Appendix A: From Elizabeth Carter, All the Works of Epictetus

Appendix B: The Debate on Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, 1787-1790

Appendix C: The Royal Proclamation of a Fast in April 1793

Appendix D: The British Novelists: Predecessors, Contents, Allusions

Sources of the Texts

William McCarthy is the author of Hester Thrale Piozzo: Portrait of a Literary Woman (1985).

Elizabeth Kraft is the author of Character and Consciousness in Eighteenth-Century Comic Fiction (1992) and Laurence Sterne Revisited (1996). They co-edited The Poems of Anna Letitia Barbauld (1994) for the University of Georgia Press.