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The Rights of Woman

The Rights of Woman


by Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Some critics argue that Barbauld criticizes Wollstonecraft in this poem not so much because she disagreed with Wollstonecraft's arguments, but because she was miffed that Wollstonecraft made fun of one of Barbauld's poems, "To a Lady, with Some Painted Flowers," in her Vindication of the Rights of Women. Petty, yes, but possible nevertheless.

Anna Barbauld got the same kind of education her father gave to the boys at his school, which was unusual for a girl in those days. Then she put that education to good use by running a boys' school with her husband in later years. (Source.)

Barbauld published a poem called "Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, a Poem" (in, you guessed it, 1811). It was a criticism of England's continuing war with France, and it predicted that if the war didn't end soon, England's power in the world would dwindle. The poem got totally panned by reviewers, and Barbauld was so stung by the criticism that although she kept writing, she didn't publish anything else during her lifetime. Bummer for us. (Source.)

Although Barbauld's married life was mostly happy, it did not end well: her husband developed some form of mental illness, and at one point pulled a knife on Anna Barbauld and chased her around the room. After he was committed to a hospital, he escaped and drowned himself. Not a very pleasant end to what was overall a happy life together. So much for the finale to her poem. (Source.)

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