By Douglas Anderson
An entire diversity of yankee writers have interested in pictures of family, household advantage, and the female or feminized hero. this crucial new ebook examines the patience and suppleness of such topics within the paintings of vintage writers from Ann Bradstreet via Jefferson and Franklin to Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. with out minimizing the diversities that divide those figures, Anderson indicates the level to which, of their quite a few conditions, they have been all dedicated to a standard enterprise--a social and cultural reconstruction in response to the family values of the best inner most loved ones.
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Additional info for A House Undivided: Domesticity and Community in American Literature
She finally dismisses her hobbling "work" with some cautious advice about avoiding critics and pleading the lowliness of one's parentage. There seems, at first, little struggle here. Bradstreet solicits a bit of tenderness for her "rambling brat" and concocts one or two clever (if disturbing) puns on printing "rags" and on her offspring's crippled "feet," but only in the closing lines does she suggest the striking model for her creative zeal: In this array, 'mongst vulgars mayst thou roam; In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come.
These, in fact, are curiously out of harmony with the deaths of children, as Bradstreet quietly shows us in "In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth": Farewell dear babe, my heart's too much content, Farewell sweet babe, the pleasure of mine eye, Farewell fair flower that for a space was lent, Then ta'en away unto eternity. Blest babe, why should I once bewail thy fate, Or sigh thy days so soon were terminate, Sith thou art settled in an everlasting state. 2 By nature trees do rot when they are grown, And plums and apples thoroughly ripe do fall, And corn and grass are in their season mown, And time brings down what is both strong and tall.
Like Emily Dickinson, Bradstreet assembled private books of her poetry, but unlike Dickinson, she had clearly in mind an ultimate purpose for them, as she indicates in the six lines with which she prefaced the brief spiritual autobiography that she wrote for her children: This book by any yet unread, I leave for you when I am dead, That being gone, here you may find What was your living mother's mind. Make use of what I leave in love, And God shall bless you from above. (240) These are characteristically simple couplets.
A House Undivided: Domesticity and Community in American Literature by Douglas Anderson