This chapter reconsiders Anne Bradstreet's famous pronouncements of authorial reluctance in her two seventeenth century printed publications: The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America and Several Poems. It considers examples of the paratextual apparatus, the dedicatory epistles, commendatory verses and prefatory poems that accompanied her entry into the public arena of print. The 1650 Tenth Muse contains a number prefatory materials assembled to establish Bradstreet's credentials in various social, political and literary networks. Bradstreet's 'The author to her book' alludes in its first line to the famous sonnet sequence of the previous century's chief Protestant poet, Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella. In the 1678 Several Poems, 'The author to her book' is placed after poems included in the 1650 Tenth Muse and precedes 'Several other Poems made by the Author upon diverse occasions'.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book provides some measure of how the assessments, critics are approaching early modern women as writers, and more specifically as writers in the canonically charged mode of poetry. It focuses on both histories of inclusion, with a use of precedents indistinguishable from that of male contemporaries. It analyses the way in which gender inflects the insertion of a feminine lyric voice into generic conventions. Generic precedent is perceived to be available for use by the woman writer herself even if it is not valued by her contemporary readers. Suzanne Trill persuasively argues for Mary Sidney's rhetorical methods in revision of psalm translation as part of an unrecognised, divinely inspired project of collaborative authorship.