McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Danielle St. Hilaire
Anna Letitia Barbauld, Anne Grant, Augustine, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, Eighteen Hundred and Thirteen, John Milton
My study examines the relationship between Anna Letitia Barbauld's Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, A Poem and Anne Grant's Eighteen Hundred and Thirteen, A Poem as well as Milton's presence in both texts. I argue that Grant does not merely offer a conservative counter to Barbauld's liberal condemnation of English politics during England's military engagement with Napoleonic France; rather, Grant provides a nuanced and balanced response to Barbauld in which Grant both acknowledges the faults of England and defends England as the source of liberty. Between these two positions is Milton, a towering cultural figure in England. Milton is not only a critic of English politics but also a champion of liberty. Thus, politically and poetically, Milton is the link between Barbauld's and Grant's prophetic poems.
In the first section of my study, I sketch Milton's Augustinian theology and politics with particular attention given to the Judeo-Christian paradigm of sin in Paradise Lost; I also chart his position within England's history and culture from the time of Milton through the period of Barbauld and Grant. In my second chapter, I examine Barbauld's religion and politics and how they are manifested in her poem, a poem that positions England as a fallen nation with no hope for regeneration. Finally, I examine Grant's theology and politics via her poetic response to Barbauld; Grant adopts Milton in her positioning of England as the fallen Christian hero and torch of liberty for the world.
Stevenson, J. (2015). Sin, History, and Liberty: Milton, Anna Letitia Barbauld, and Anne Grant in the Eighteen Hundreds (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1238