Colonial Writing and the New World, 1583-1671Most scholars of Anglo-American colonial history have treated colonialism either as an exclusively American phenomenon or, conversely, as a European one. Colonial Writing and the New World 1583-1671 argues for a reading of the colonial period that attempts to render an account of both the European origins of colonial expansion and its specifically American consequences. The author offers an account of the simultaneous emergence of colonialism and nationalism during the early modern period, and of the role that English interactions with native populations played in attempts to articulate a coherent English identity. He draws on a wide variety of texts ranging from travel narratives and accounts of the colony in Virginia to sermons, conversion tracts and writings about the Algonquin language.
A Companion to the Literatures of Colonial AmericaThis broad introduction to Colonial American literatures brings out the comparative and transatlantic nature of the writing of this period and highlights the interactions between native, non-scribal groups, and Europeans that helped to shape early American writing. Situates the writing of this period in its various historical and cultural contexts, including colonialism, imperialism, diaspora, and nation formation. Highlights interactions between native, non-scribal groups and Europeans during the early centuries of exploration. Covers a wide range of approaches to defining and reading early American writing. Looks at the development of regional spheres of influence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Serves as a vital adjunct to Castillo and Schweitzer's 'The Literatures of Colonial America: An Anthology' (Blackwell Publishing, 2001).
Democracy, Revolution, and Monarchism in Early American LiteraturePaul Downes combines literary criticism and political history in order to explore responses to the rejection of monarchism in the American revolutionary era. Downes' analysis considers the Declaration of Independence, Franklin's autobiography, Crvecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer and the works of America's first significant literary figures including Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper. He claims that the post-revolutionary American state and the new democratic citizen inherited some of the complex features of absolute monarchy, even as they were strenuously trying to assert their difference from it. In chapters that consider the revolution's mock execution of George III, the Elizabethan notion of the 'king's two bodies' and the political significance of the secret ballot, Downes points to the traces of monarchical political structures within the practices and discourses of early American democracy. This is an ambitious study of an important theme in early American culture and society.
The Devil's Mousetrap : Redemption and Colonial American LiteratureThe Devil's Mousetrap approaches the thought of three colonial New England divines--Increase Mather, Jonathan Edwards, and Edward Taylor--from the perspective of literary theory. Author Linda Munk focuses on the background of these men's ideas and on the sources from which they drew, both directly and indirectly, in framing their theology. She notes that the language used in the pulpit by Mather, Edwards, and Taylor is full of allusions to the Bible and Apocrypha, to Puritan treatises, and to post-biblical exegesis, Jewish and Christian. Munk proceeds to unpack many allusions that have, for the most part, proven to be unclear to contemporary readers, in order to provide essential insights into the construction of Puritan theology.
Folded Selves : Colonial New England Writing in the World SystemFolded Selves radically refigures traditional portraits of seventeenth-century New England literature and culture by situating colonial writing within the spatial, transnational, and economic contexts that characterized the early-modern "world system" theorized by Immanuel Wallerstein and others. Michelle Burnham rethinks American literary history and the politics of colonial dissent, and her book breaks new ground in making the economic relations of investment, credit, and trade central to this new framework for early American literary and cultural study. Transcontinental colonialism and mercantile capitalism underwrote not just the emerging world system but New World writing--suggesting that early modern literary aesthetics and the early modern economy helped to sponsor each other. Burnham locates in New England's literature of dissent--from Ma-re Mount to the Salem witchcraft trials - a persistent use of economic language, as well as competing economies of style. The brilliance of Burnham's study is that it exposes the transoceanic material and commercial concerns of colonial America's literature and culture of dissent.
Jonathan Edwards and the BibleThis study proposes that Jonathan Edwards's biblical interpretation is the key to understanding his broader engagement with critical thought, and it provides a unifying thread within his theological work. The vast but little-known biblical writings of Edwards (1703-1758) show him to have been thoroughly engaged with critical historical methods of interpretation. Critical thought was the rage of British society in the middle of the 17th century, particularly in relation to church-state issues. It had been considered a late 19th-century phenomenon in American religious history, but Robert E. Brown shows that its influence began much earlier. He traces the impact of this revolution in biblical interpretation to nearly every area of Edwards's intellectual career--epistemology, historiography, natural theology, typology, natural science, comparative religion, constructive theology, and public discourse. This engagement resulted in a subtle but distinct transformation of Edwards's understanding of the biblical narratives and their relation to the new scientific modes of inquiry, anticipating similar developments in 19th-century American religious thought.
The Mathers : Three Generations of Puritan Intellectuals, 1596-1728In this classic work of American religious history, Robert Middlekauff traces the evolution of Puritan thought and theology in America from its origins in New England through the early eighteenth century. He focuses on three generations of intellectual ministers—Richard, Increase, and Cotton Mather—in order to challenge the traditional telling of the secularization of Puritanism, a story of faith transformed by reason, science, and business. Delving into the Mathers'private papers and unpublished writings as well as their sermons and published works, Middlekauff describes a Puritan theory of religious experience that is more creative, complex, and uncompromising than traditional accounts have allowed. At the same time, he portrays changing ideas and patterns of behavior that reveal much about the first hundred years of American life.
New World, Known World : Shaping Knowledge in Early Anglo-American WritingNew World, Known World examines the works of four writers closely associated with the early period of English colonization, from 1624 to 1649: John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia, William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation, Thomas Morton's New English Canaan, and Roger Williams's A Key into the Language of America (in conjunction with another of Williams's major works, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution). David Read addresses these texts as examples of what he refers to as "individual knowledge projects"-- the writers' attempts to shape raw information and experience into patterns and narratives that can be compared with and assessed against others from a given society's fund of accepted knowledge. Read argues that the body of Western knowledge in the period immediately before the development of well-defined scientific disciplines is primarily the work of individuals functioning in relative isolation, rather than institutions working in concert. The European colonization of other regions in the same period exposes in a way few historical situations do both the complexity and the uncertainty involved in the task of producing knowledge. Read treats each work as the project of a specific mind, reflecting a high degree of intentionality and design, and not simply as a collection of documentary evidence to be culled in the service of a large-scale argument. He shows that each author adds a distinct voice to the experience of North American colonization and that each articulates it in ways that are open to analysis in terms of form, style, convention, rhetorical strategies, and applications of metaphor and allegory. By applying the tools of literary interpretation to colonial texts, Read reaches a fuller understanding of the immediate consequences of English colonization in North America on the culture's base of knowledge. Students and scholars of early modern colonialism and transatlantic studies, as well as those with interests in seventeenth-century American and English literature, should find this book of particular value.
Phillis Wheatley and the RomanticsPhillis Wheatley was the first African American to publish a book. Born in Gambia in 1753, she came to America aboard a slave ship, the Phillis. From an early age, Wheatley exhibited a profound gift for verse, publishing her first poem in 1767. Her tribute to a famed pastor, "On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield," followed in 1770, catapulting her into the international spotlight, and publication of her 1773 Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral in London created her an international star. Despite the attention she received at the time, history has not been kind to Wheatley. Her work has long been neglected or denigrated by literary critics and historians. John C. Shields, a scholar of early American literature, has tried to help change this perception, and Wheatley has begun to take her place among the elite of American writers. In Phillis Wheatley and the Romantic Age, Shields contends that Wheatley was not only a brilliant writer but one whose work made a significant impression on renowned Europeans of the Romantic age, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who borrowed liberally from her works, particularly in his famous distinction between fancy and imagination. Shields shows how certain Wheatley texts, particularly her "Long Poem," consisting of "On Recollection," "Thoughts on the Works of Providence," and "On Imagination," helped shape the face of Romanticism in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Phillis Wheatley and the Romantic Age helps demolish the long-held notion that literary culture flowed in only one direction: from Europe to the Americas. Thanks to Wheatley's influence, Shields argues, the New World was influencing European literary masters far sooner than has been generally understood.
The Poems of Edward TaylorEdward Taylor (1642-1729) was one of the most influential ministers in Puritan New England. He was also a prolific but unpublished poet. With the discovery of his poetry in 1936 and the publication of a nearly complete volume in 1960, his reputation as the premiere early American poet has grown immensely. His widely anthologized work is taught in most introductory American literature courses and nearly all courses on early American literature. This reference is a convenient guide to his poetry, including a summarization of the current state of scholarship on his work.
Beginning with an overview of his life and times, this reference analyzes Taylor's "Preparatory Meditations and Gods Determinations," along with his other poems, in light of Puritan doctrine and his thoughts about poetry. The book traces the genesis of his works, their editorial and publication history, and the complex cultural and historical background of his writings. Later chapters discuss his themes, his poetic art, and the reception of his works. A brief bibliographical essay completes the volume.
Thomas PaineThe leading Thomas Paine expert in the U.S. presents both a biography of the controversial Founding Father and an analysis of his works. Known as "the Voice of the Revolution, " Paine was a truly original thinker, a man whose magnificient, freedom-loving spirit is richly captured in this major biography.
Transatlantic Insurrections : British Culture and the Formation of American Literature, 1730-1860Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2001 Paul Giles traces the paradoxical relations between English and American literature from 1730 through 1860, suggesting how the formation of a literary tradition in each national culture was deeply dependent upon negotiation with its transatlantic counterpart. Using the American Revolution as the fulcrum of his argument, Giles describes how the impulse to go beyond conventions of British culture was crucial in the establishment of a distinct identity for American literature. Similarly, he explains the consolidation of British cultural identity partly as a response to the need to suppress the memory and consequences of defeat in the American revolutionary wars. Giles ranges over neglected American writers such as Mather Byles and the Connecticut Wits as well as better-known figures like Franklin, Jefferson, Irving, and Hawthorne. He reads their texts alongside those of British authors such as Pope, Richardson, Equiano, Austen, and Trollope. Taking issue with more established utopian narratives of American literature, Transatlantic Insurrections analyzes how elements of blasphemous, burlesque humor entered into the making of the subject.
The Word in Black and White : Reading Race in American Literature, 1638-1867Dana Nelson provides a study of the ways in which Anglo-American authors constructed "race" in their works from the time of the first British colonists through the period of the Civil War. She focuses on some eleven texts, ranging from widely-known to little-considered, that deal with the relations among Native, African, and Anglo-Americans, and places her readings in the historical, social, and material contexts of an evolving U.S. colonialism and internal imperialism. Nelson shows how a novel such as The Last of the Mohicans sought to reify the Anglo historical past and simultaneously suggested strategies that would serve Anglo-Americans against Native Americans as the frontier pushed farther west. Concluding her work with a reading of Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Nelson shows how that text undercuts the racist structures of the pre-Civil War period by positing a revised model of sympathy that authorizes alternative cultural perspectives and requires Anglo-Americans to question their own involvement with racism.
American Colonial Writers, 1606-1734The earliest of the American writers, the colonials, were truly voices in the wilderness-authors of a literary heritage largely overlooked until early in the 20th century. It was then that the literary merits of sermons, autobiographies, histories, diaries, poems and elegies from the 1600s and early 1700s were seriously reassessed in light of a more sophisticated historical understanding. With this re-examination came new discoveries and a greater appreciation for the imaginative range of the Puritan mind, presented in this volume's 95 entries covering major voices of the period as well as some of the more elusive figures from America's literary past. 95 entries include: George Alsop, William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, John Cotton, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Cotton Mathe, William Penn, Edward Taylor, Nathaniel Ward, Michael Wigglesworth and John Winthrop.
American Poetry - The Seventeenth and Eighteenth CenturiesThis groundbreaking Library of America volume offers a fresh look at early American poetry, charting its evolution over a span of almost two centuries, from the first years of English settlement in the New World to the death of George Washington. Gathering the work of more than 100 poets--including many poems never previously anthologized and some published here for the first time--it is the most comprehensive collection of its kind ever assembled, a celebration of the rich, varied, and often surprising beginnings of American poetry.
Major Writers of Early American LiteratureMajor Writers of Early American Literature provides a fresh appraisal of the most important authors of seventeenth and eighteenth century America. Although knowledge of early American literature has been greatly widened and deepened in recent years, the standard study of this literature is nearly a hundred years old. It is time for a new study, which will take into account the modern reader as well as such recent findings as the discovery only a generation ago of America's best early poet.
Mistress Bradstreet : The Untold Life of America's First PoetThough her work is a staple of anthologies of American poetry, Anne Bradstreet has never before been the subject of an accessible, full-scale biography for a general audience. Anne Bradstreet is known for her poem, "To My Dear and Loving Husband," among others, and through John Berryman's "Homage to Mistress Bradstreet." With her first collection, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, she became the first published poet, male or female, of the New World. Many New England towns were founded and settled by Anne Bradstreet's family or their close associates--characters who appear in these pages.
Phillis Wheatley : Biography of a Genius in BondageWith Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral , Phillis Wheatley became the first English-speaking person of African descent to publish a book and only the second woman--of any race or background-- to do so in America. Carretta relocates Wheatley from the margins to the center of her eighteenth-century transatlantic world, revealing the fascinating life of a woman who rose from the indignity of enslavement to earn wide recognition, only to die in obscurity a few years later.