Anna Laetitia Aikin Barbauld (Anna Barbauld)

Anna Laetitia Aikin Barbauld

She was a prominent English Romantic poet, essayist, and children’s author. She was the daughter of a classics tutor at Warrington Academy who won respect and admiration from her father’s colleagues for her intellectual skills. She became a respected poet and essayist. In 1774 she married a minister and former academy student, Rochement Barbauld. A “woman of letters” who published in multiple genres, she had a successful writing career at a time when female professional writers were rare. She was a noted teacher at the Palgrave Academy and an innovative children’s writer; her primers provided a model for pedagogy for more than a century. Her essays demonstrated that it was possible for a woman to be publicly engaged in politics, and other women authors emulated her. Even more important, her poetry was foundational to the development of Romanticism in England. She was also a literary critic, and her anthology of 18th-century British novels helped establish the canon as known today. Her literary career ended abruptly in 1812 with the publication of her poem “Eighteen Hundred and Eleven”, which criticized Britain’s participation in the Napoleonic Wars. Vicious reviews shocked Barbauld and she published nothing else during her lifetime. Her reputation was further damaged when many of the Romantic poets she had inspired in the heyday of the French Revolution turned against her in their later, more conservative, years. She was remembered only as a pedantic children’s writer during the 19th century, and largely forgotten during the 20th century, but the rise of feminist literary criticism in the 1980s renewed interest in her works and restored her place in literary history. (bio by: julia&keld)


  • June, 20, 1743
  • England


  • March, 03, 1825
  • England


  • St Mary Churchyard
  • England

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