Commentary The Author to Her B

January 17, 2017 General Studies

The poem being analyzed: The Author To Her Book was written by poet Anne Bradstreet in approximately 1672. It was published in her anthology The Works of Anne Bradstreet likely after her death.

The Author To Her Book is written in the first person. It is narrated by an unnamed narrator yet due to the title the reader can assume that the narrator is an author. The poem is written in one single stanza presenting the single idea of the narrator’s displeasure with and his inability to fix his book. .

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The poem being presented takes place as follows. The author introduces a problem that her “ill formed offspring” (1) was “exposed to public view” by her “less wise than true” friends. The author is very embarrassed that her offspring was “exposed to public view” as she states that her “blushing was not small” and that she had actually cast the offspring “unfit for light”. The author then tells her “child” that although she is upset and embarrassed that it has been cast into light she still had affection for it and would attempt to fix its “blemishes”. The narrator tries to mend the offspring but is unable to. The poem closes with the narrator giving advice to her offspring in the case that it should come into contact with a critic of its impurities. .

Key to this passage is the title. The title, The Author to Her Book in many ways unlocks the secret of who or what the narrator’s “ill formed offspring” (1) is. Since the title tells us that the author is speaking to his book we know that the offspring, the unnamed child that the narrator speaks to, is a personification of the book written by the narrator. This statement is reassured by the fact that many other authors either personify or symbolize their works. Emily Dickenson for example referred to her poems as her “flowers”. Also the offspring is described as being “in print”.

Although the title is important for understanding the poem it must not be used as the only guideline in understanding the poem.


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