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Anne Bradstreet: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Puritan Poet (Guided Tour of Church History) Paperback – January 1, 2006
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"This book does a masterful job of performing the task identified in the subtitleit is a guided tour of the life and work of Anne Bradstreet, conducted by a wonderfully talented tour guide. For anyone wishing to acquire or renew an acquaintance with Anne Bradstreet, this is the book of choice." --Leland Ryken, Wheaton College
"Puritan pioneer Anne Bradstreet, solid believer, ardent wife, faithful mother, wise woman, and gifted poetess, is a lady well worth meeting. Dr. Nichols arranges that meeting beautifully in these pages, and merits our gratitude for doing so." --J. I. Packer, Regent College
"Nichols not only illuminates the poets life and social context, she makes it possible for a new generation to savor Anne Bradstreets own words and to share the sorrows, joy, and hope of her inner journey." --Charles Hambrick-Stowe, Northern Seminary, Lombard, Illinois
About the Author
Heidi L. Nichols (M.A. Villanova University, Ph.D. Indiani University of Pennsylvania) is assistant professor of English at Lancaster Bible College. She is the author of The Fashioning of Middle-Class America: Sartains Union Magazine of Literature and Art and Antebellum America.
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I think the main purpose of this book is to provide an introduction to Bradstreet's works of poetry and prose. I enjoyed the way the material was organized. It follows Bradstreet's life in an almost chronological sense. The material is not strictly chronological in the book, but I think the chapters are in a sense. There is a progression and maturing aspect to her works. The hardness of life at that time kept her humble and reliant on God for protection and sustenance. I think this is a lesson for us all. By reading her works, it helps us to follow her example.
The poems themselves were beautifully written. She made consistent use of rhyme and meter. She also made skillful use of metaphor and allusion. They of course cover a wide variety of topics.
The illustrations scattered throughout the book are also to be commended. They add to rather than detract from the flow of the book.
Throughout the book there were references to her being a female poet in a man's world. It was an issue that she constantly faced. there was much pressure to keep women in their assigned place in society. She looked up to other leading women such as Queen Elizabeth. Being a Puritan, she was used to being a non-conformist regarding societal expectations.
This book is an excellent introduction to Anne Bradstreet's life and writings. Heidi Nichols should be commended for the book. I would recommend it not only to enjoy early American poetry, but also to gain insight into the real lives of the Puritans. Hopefully this book will help remove our stereotypes of the Puritans and provide us with a more balanced view.
All in all, this is a job well done. Nichols proves that she is well aware of the feminists who have tried to take Anne captive and interpret her according to their own agenda, but she doesn't give in to such schemes. I heartily give this book a five-star rating.