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Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (June 20, 1743March 9, 1825) was an English poet and miscellaneous writer.

She was born Anna Laetitia Aikin at Kibworth-Harcourt, in Leicestershire. Her father, the Reverend John Aikin, a Presbyterian minister and schoolmaster, taught his daughter Latin and Greek. In 1758 Mr Aikin removed his family to Warrington, to act as theological tutor in a dissenting academy there. In 1773 Anna published a volume of Poems, which was very successful, and collaborated with her brother, Dr John Aikin, in a volume of Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose.

In 1774 she married Rochemont Barbauld, a member of a French Protestant family settled in England. He had been educated in the academy at Warrington, and was minister of a Presbyterian church at Palgrave, in Suffolk, where, with his wife's help, he established a boarding school. In 1785 they left for the continent, for the benefit of Mr Barbauld's health. On their return about two years later, he was appointed to a church at Hampstead. In 1802 they moved to Stoke Newington.

Mrs Barbauld became well known in London literary circles. She collaborated with Dr Aikin in his Evenings at Home; in 1795 she published an edition of Mark Akenside's Pleasures of Imagination, with a critical essay; two years later she edited William Collins's Odes; in 1804 she published a selection of papers from the English Essayists, and a selection from Samuel Richardson's correspondence, with a biographical notice; in 1810 a collection of the British Novelists (50 vols.) with biographical and critical notices; and in 1811 her longest poem, Eighteen hundred and Eleven, giving a gloomy view of the existing state and future prospects of Britain. This poem anticipated Macaulay in contemplating the prospect of a visitor from the antipodes regarding at a future day the ruins of St Paul's Cathedral from a broken arch of Blackfriars Bridge. Mr Barbauld died in 1808. There is a memoir of Mrs Barbauld by her niece Lucy Aikin.

Several of Mrs Barbauld's writings are available from the Women Writers Project.