This essay examines the curious belatedness of Anne Bradstreet's elegies for Philip Sidney, Guillaume du Bartas, and Elizabeth I in The Tenth Muse (1650). The elegies point toward a broader pattern of "untimeliness" in The Tenth Muse, a result of ongoing tension between two temporal registers: the historical past and the present tense of poetic address. This tension appears as a key theme in "The Four Monarchies," Bradstreet's long verse history, before emerging as a central conflict in the elegies. The untimeliness of these elegies reflects the contradictions of Bradstreet's transatlantic worldmaking, a project trailed throughout by a worrying sense of her own lateness. These poems exhibit a temporal distance that forecloses the recovery of a lost English unity. The Tenth Muse thus asks us to see worldmaking as a problem not just of space but also of time. That challenge lies at the heart of the volume's elegies, which conjure a world of their own through the immediacy of the lyric now—even as they wrestle with the demands of historical occasion.
Fallon, Samuel, "Lately Sprung up in America: Anne Bradstreet’s Untimely Worldmaking" (2018). English faculty/staff works. 1.