Anna Laetitia Aikin was born on June 20th, 1743 near the village of Kibworth Harcourt, in Leicestershire. Her parents were Presbyterian Dissenters. Her mother, Jane Jennings Aikin, gave her a conventional domestic education. Her father was a Presbyterian minister and schoolteacher and moved their family in 1758 to act as a theological tutor at a dissenting academy, Warrington Academy. At Warrington Academy, Anna was inspired by Joseph Priestley to write. Anna’s younger brother, John Aikin, supported her writing and published her first six pieces in his book Essays on Song-Writing. In 1773, Anna published her first independent collection of Poems, which was very successful. Anna married Rochemont Barbauld in 1774. He was a descendant of the French Huguenot refugees. He had come to Warrington Academy in 1767 and converted from the Church of England to Presbyterian Dissent. The Barbaulds had a complicated relationship. Together, they established a boarding school, which they managed until 1785. Unfortunately, Rochemont became mentally ill and often threatened Barbauld's safety. He committed suicide in 1808. They never had children but adopted her brother's third son. Anna Barbauld drew heavily on her experience with children in her writing: publishing Devotional Pieces (1775) and Hymns in Prose for Children (1781), as well as several books on the education of small children. By 1790, Barbauld had shifted her focus to politically charged writing. The last of her writings to be published was Eighteen Hundred And Eleven, A Poem. Barbauld's writing spans a wide range, from poetry to essays, literary reviews, educational writings, and political works.
Every individual, my brethren, who has a sense of religion, and a desire of conforming his conduct to its precepts, will frequently retire into himself to discover his faults; and having discovered, to repent of, -- and having repented of, to amend them. Nations have likewise their faults to repent of, their conduct to examine.
Patrick Madden's New Book
Join Us on Facebook
Quotidiana is an online anthology of "classical" essays, from antiquity to the early twentieth century. All essays and images are in the public domain. Commentaries are copyrighted, but may be used with proper attribution. Special thanks to the BYU College of Humanities and English Department for funding, and to Joey Franklin and Lara Burton, for tireless research assisting.