Anna Barbauld's history of the future: A deviant way to poetic agency

Emily Rohrbach*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Examining Barbauld's Eighteen Hundred and Eleven from the point-of-view of early nineteenth-century historiographical transformation and philosophical discourse, this essay suggests that the poem appears at the threshold of modernity in respect to its specific poetics of time and history. In other words, depictions of female experiences and suffering here might begin to offer a new kind of subjectivity and a deviation from the kinds of representation available in the "masculine" universalizing histories popular in Barbauld's day; similar to those "masculine" totalizing versions of England's past (and present and future), however, Barbauld's depictions appear contained by a philosophy of historical progress that allows nothing outside the normativity of the past into its purview; her vision of England in a global context presents not a world in which something new might enter from either the future or from a geographically remote place, but rather a world in which a single model of progress would apply to every nation or culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Romantic Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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