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Unformatted text preview: Chief Works Rated a distinguished American narrative by critic Edmund Wilson, The Homage to Mistress Bradstreet (1956) surprises the reader by its engaging conversation between people born more than three centuries apart. By dissociating into wrangling voices, he traces the character and history of a literary ancestor, Anne Bradstreet, a fellow anomaly stalked by loss and failure. Introduced in stanzas 1 through 4, the poet establishes his identification with the colonial poet, with whom he shares doubt, alienation, and hardship. Internalizing her barrenness alongside his literary and personal misgivings, he claims, "Both of our worlds unhanded us." Stanza 17 opens on Bradstreet, who mourns, "no child stirs / under my withering heart." In straightforward diction suited to confession or journal, she continues her plaint, which swells to high drama in stanza 19 with an eerily erotic birthing scene. Wracked with staccato bursts of caesura, it drama in stanza 19 with an eerily erotic birthing scene....
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- Fall '08
- Stress, startstop literary career., Chief Works Rated, eerily erotic birthing, critic Edmund Wilson, emotion outdistances syntax