Anne Bradstreet by D.B. Kellogg (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2010).
In this short biography, D.B. Kellogg never says that Anne Bradstreet fought off a pack of angry bears with an axe while surrounded by chanting Native Americans in war paint, but she might very well have written a poem about it...
The difficult thing about writing a biography about someone like Anne Bradstreet is often how little information has come down to us. And when biographers don't know a lot about the person, they are often tempted to use general information about the time period as filler. In this short biography of Anne Bradstreet, Kellogg avoids this danger quite skillfully by mixing together a picture of Bradstreet's life and just enough information about the Puritan world to explain what might otherwise be obscure and difficult events and poems. For example, Kellogg explains that Bradstreet's family had worked for Queen Elizabeth, and that she considered the reign of Elizabeth to be one of the best periods in English history to date. Which in turn explains her lines praising "she that swayed the Scepter with her hand."
Overall, this biography is a well done blending of historical setting, biographical information, and literary explanation. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to learn more about early American poetry, the New England colonies in the early 1600s, or, of course, Anne Bradstreet.
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