UXL Encyclopedia of Landforms and Other Geologic Features by Rob Nagel

By Rob Nagel

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Ten years later, Anne’s closest sister, Sarah Keane, was also heard preaching, but not on American soil. She had followed her husband back to England after he abandoned her. John Winthrop’s brother, Stephen, reported to him that his “she Cosin Keayne is growne a great preacher” after hearing her speak openly about religion (Martin 59). He was far from impressed, and the use of the term great preacher is laced with irony. When she returned to Massachusetts without her husband, she was charged with “irregular prophesying in mixed assemblies” (quoted in Rosenmeier 93).

No other manuscript by a resident of the New World had yet been published. Bradstreet’s The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, or Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, Full of Delight was the fi rst. When the book was published in 1650, Bradstreet was 38 years old. The book was prefaced by a variety of introductory comments written by men endorsing the poet and the work, followed by three anagrams of Anne Bradstreet’s name. Nathaniel Ward wrote the simultaneously condescending and celebratory verse introduction, honoring the remarkable nature of her accomplishment in a man’s arena while also suggesting that she is merely putting on the trappings of a poet.

Still, New England had its own brand of unrest and dangers for women. Anne Bradstreet’s careful handling of authority—private resistance accompanied by resignation—kept her safe from the fates of her own sister, Sarah Keane, and Anne Hutchinson, both excommunicated from the church at Boston and exiled from the community for overstepping their intellectual and religious bounds (Martin 16–17). Both Bradstreet’s father and her husband sat on Hutchinson’s trial. Thomas Dudley, then deputy governor, was a magistrate, and Simon Bradstreet was an assistant at the General Court proceedings.

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