By Timothy Whelan (auth.)
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Extra resources for Other British Voices: Women, Poetry, and Religion, 1766–1840
Their aim was to suffuse a “plaine” yet succinct verbal picture of human spirituality within the boundaries of a poem or hymn, much like the typical eighteenth-century unadorned nonconformist chapel. The simplicity of such poetry and prose did not necessarily inhibit emotion, as demonstrated by two classics of nonconformity, Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666) and Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), an emotion mirrored in the intense spiritual autobiography of Bunyan’s disciple, Agnes Beaumont (c.
Though her early education was exceptional, she was not exempt from the Steele tradition of attending a boarding school, and accordingly left Broughton in 1766 for Hackney, London, to attend Mrs. 7 Mrs. King reinforced in Mary the kind of strict Calvinism she had been taught by her aunt, forming “the Childrens’ minds to early Habits of Piety” (NWW 3: 180), Steele writes in her spiritual autobiography (c. 1780). Though adept at wearing “the Garb of Piety & [introducing] Religion on every Occasion,” Mrs.
Like Sutton and the women within the Steele circle, Bradstreet’s poems on religious, domestic, and political topics received the approval of a significant contemporary male audience. Her first collection of poems, The Tenth Muse, emerged from a manuscript coterie, much like the poetry of the Steele circle a century later, and was published in London by her brother-in-law in 1650 and dedicated to her father, just as Mary Steele would dedicate Danebury to her father in 1779. The Tenth Muse was prefaced by poems composed by some of London’s leading Puritan ministers; similarly, Anne Steele’s poems were praised by a variety of Baptist and Presbyterian ministers during her lifetime.