The British Common Reader: Critical Prefaces by Anna Letitia Barbauld

  • Mary A. Waters
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print book series (PERCP)


Boaden’s offhand remark — that the difference between Barbauld’s criticism and that of Inchbald stems from family background — is more telling than it may at first seem. As religious Dissenters, the Aikin men were barred from most avenues of formal higher education in England. Yet Boaden is right; they were indeed scholars. To prepare their own clergy and to provide educational opportunities for their adherents, eighteenth-century English Dissenters established separate schools such as Warrington Academy. Though outside the elite channels of education that might culminate at one of the prestigious Anglican universities, Dissenting academies, particularly Warrington, were among the best schools in England. The Reverend John Aikin, Barbauld’s father, a respected Dissenting clergyman committed to theological and classical scholarship, became one of Warrington’s first tutors when the Academy opened in 1757.


Literary Criticism Literary History Literary Form Popular Literature Woman Writer 
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© Mary A. Waters 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary A. Waters
    • 1
  1. 1.Wichita State UniversityUSA

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