The Author to Her Book
by Anne Bradstreet
Analysis: What's Up With the Title?
“The Author, to Her Book”—in short, the title of this poem tells us that what we are reading is what the author said to her book, or rather is what the author feels towards her book. Yes, the words “feel” or “spoke” are nowhere in the title, but there are only so many words that could fit in that space between “Author” and “to,” right?
It’s important that the title says “the author” and not, say, “a female author,” or “Anne Bradstreet.” Why is this important? Well, it makes the title a little more generic—it makes it so that the title could, potentially, refer to any number of potential authors. It would be like writing a little poem called “the baseball player to his bat.” Even though there is, technically, a specific author in the background (Anne Bradstreet), the title allows us to think of the poem as representative of the feelings or thoughts of lots of self-conscious artists towards their work.
Of course, that’s not as straightforward an address as it might seem. The speaker spends most of the poem apologizing for how terrible this book is, but still maintains that the poem has a mother (the speaker), not a father (as would have been expected). Might the title then announce a kind of underhanded, subtle statement of girl power with the word “Her”? We’ll let you make the call.