Woman Writers of the Romantic Period

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 899
  • Published : June 2, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Woman Writers of the Romantic Period

Romanticism (also called Romantic Era or Romantic period) was a complex artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and developed in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. In part, it was a movement against various social and political norms and ideas of the Age of Enlightenment. It strongly influenced the visual arts, music, and literature, but it had impact on education and natural history as well. During this period, writers and poets were actively engaged in the creation of a new form of artistic expression. The objective of this type of expression was to celebrate intuition, rather than reason. It is believed that the greatest representatives of the period were men. Women writers of the time did not receive the same recognition as did their contemporaries-men writers. Women were supposed to be incapable of expressing emotions in writing. Indeed, it was a period where males still dominated most aspects of society, but women gradually became more active. In the Romantic period, more women were writing poetry than ever before. There were a number of famous Romantic female writers in the Romantic era. The most notable female writers include: Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Charlotte Turner Smith, Mary Robinson, Hannah More and Joanna Baillie. This essay will look closer to some of them. As poet, educator, essayist and critic, Anna Laetitia Aikin is considered to be one of the literary giants of her time. She was born on June 20th, 1743, in family of Jane Jennings and John Aikin, a Presbyterian minister and schoolteacher. Her family lived near the village of Kibworth Harcourt, in Leicestershire. Anna was educated at home by her mother. She later convinced her father to teach her French and Italian, and even some Latin and Greek. Anna never had close relationship with her mother, and she struggled against the puritanical restrictions her parents imposed. As she was brought up isolated form other children, she had it difficult to socialize with others even in her adulthood. In 1758 the family moved to Warrington where her father became a tutor at a newly founded academy. There was also Joseph Priestley, a colleague of Anna’s father, who became a close and lifelong friend of Anna. He is also believed to be one of those who encouraged her to write. As a result, in 1773, she published a book entitled Poems, which was vey successful. In 1774 Anna Laetitia Aikin married Rochemont Barbauld, a French Huguenot refugee. Soon they moved to Palgrave, Suffolk. A number of her poems express the love and friendship that she had in their marriage. Together, the Barbaulds established a boarding school. They had no children of their own, therefore they adopted Anna’s brother's son. Children had an important role in her. She wrote for volumes entitled Lessons for Children intended for children aged two to four. Anna published also her work Hymns in Prose for Children in 1781, as well as several other books on the education of small children. The Hymns encourage children to love and celebrate God, and they are believed to have influenced William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. After giving up the boarding school, Anna’s writings were focused primarily on political and social matter, opposing the war against French and supporting freedom of religion. Unfortunately, Rochemont Barbauld became mentally ill and increasingly violent few years later. By January 1808, he had attacked Anna Barbauld, and the couple separated in March. On November 11, 1808, Rochemont drowned himself in the New River. Anna wrote of her grief and loss in a memoir of her husband. Over next year she threw herself in editorial work. The last of Mrs. Barbauld's published writings was Eighteen Hundred And Eleven, A Poem, published in 1812, in which she criticized the war between Britain and France. Anna continued to write, but did not attempt to publish...
tracking img