Lamin O. SANNEH Harvard University Press, 1999 Library of Congress DT476.S26 1999 | Dewey Decimal 966
Edited by Gregory Butler, George Stauffer, and Mary Dalton Greer University of Illinois Press, 2007 Library of Congress ML410.B13A36 2008 | Dewey Decimal 780.92
That Johann Sebastian Bach is a pivotal figure in the history of Western music is hardly news, and the magnitude of his achievement is so immense that it can be difficult to grasp. In About Bach, fifteen scholars show that Bach's importance extends from choral to orchestral music, from sacred music to musical parodies, and also to his scribes and students, his predecessors and successors. Further, the contributors demonstrate a diversity of musicological approaches, ranging from close studies of Bach's choices of musical form and libretto to wider analyses of the historical and cultural backgrounds that impinged upon his creations and their lasting influence. This volume makes significant contributions to Bach biography, interpretation, pedagogy, and performance.
Contributors are Gregory G. Butler, Jen-Yen Chen, Alexander J. Fisher, Mary Dalton Greer, Robert Hill, Ton Koopman, Daniel R. Melamed, Michael Ochs, Mark Risinger, William H. Scheide, Hans-Joachim Schulze, Douglass Seaton, George B. Stauffer, Andrew Talle, and Kathryn Welter.
Today the images of Robert Burns and Abraham Lincoln are recognized worldwide, yet few are aware of the connection between the two. In Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns: Connected Lives and Legends, author Ferenc Morton Szasz reveals how famed Scots poet Robert Burns—and Scotland in general—influenced the life and thought of one of the most beloved and important U.S. presidents and how the legends of the two men became intertwined after their deaths. This is the first extensive work to link the influence, philosophy, and artistry of these two larger-than-life figures.
Lacking a major national poet of their own in the early nineteenth century, Americans in the fledgling frontier country ardently adopted the poignant verses and songs of Scotland’s Robert Burns. Lincoln, too, was fascinated by Scotland’s favorite son and enthusiastically quoted the Scottish bard from his teenage years to the end of his life. Szasz explores the ways in which Burns’s portrayal of the foibles of human nature, his scorn for religious hypocrisy, his plea for nonjudgmental tolerance, and his commitment to social equality helped shape Lincoln’s own philosophy of life. The volume also traces how Burns’s lyrics helped Lincoln develop his own powerful sense of oratorical rhythm, from his casual anecdotal stories to his major state addresses.
Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns connects the poor-farm-boy upbringings, the quasi-deistic religious views, the shared senses of destiny, the extraordinary gifts for words, and the quests for social equality of two respected and beloved world figures. This book is enhanced by twelve illustrations and two appendixes, which include Burns poems Lincoln particularly admired and Lincoln writings especially admired in Scotland.
Tracing the transformation of early modern academics into modern researchers from the Renaissance to Romanticism, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University uses the history of the university and reframes the "Protestant Ethic" to reconsider the conditions of knowledge production in the modern world.
William Clark argues that the research university—which originated in German Protestant lands and spread globally in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—developed in response to market forces and bureaucracy, producing a new kind of academic whose goal was to establish originality and achieve fame through publication. With an astonishing wealth of research, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University investigates the origins and evolving fixtures of academic life: the lecture catalogue, the library catalog, the grading system, the conduct of oral and written exams, the roles of conversation and the writing of research papers in seminars, the writing and oral defense of the doctoral dissertation, the ethos of "lecturing with applause" and "publish or perish," and the role of reviews and rumor. This is a grand, ambitious book that should be required reading for every academic.
The Italian Enlightenment, no less than the Scottish, was central to the emergence of political economy and creation of market societies. Sophus Reinert turns to Milan in the late 1700s to recover early socialists’ preoccupations with the often lethal tension among states, markets, and human welfare, and the policies these ideas informed.
The Accidental City
Lawrence N. Powell Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress F379.N557P68 2012 | Dewey Decimal 976.335
America’s most beguiling metropolis started out as a snake-infested, hurricane-battered swamp. Through intense imperial rivalries and ambitious settlers who risked their lives to succeed in colonial America, the site became a crossroads for the Atlantic world. Powell gives us the full sweep of the city’s history from its founding through statehood.
Caitlin Rosenthal explores quantitative management practices on West Indian and Southern plantations, showing how planter-capitalists built sophisticated organizations and used complex accounting tools. By demonstrating that business innovation can be a byproduct of bondage Rosenthal further erodes the false boundary between capitalism and slavery.
Although many of the practical and intellectual traditions that make up modern science date back centuries, the category of “science” itself is a relative novelty. In the early eighteenth century, the modern German word that would later mean “science,” naturwissenschaft, was not even included in dictionaries. By 1850, however, the term was in use everywhere. Acolytes of Nature follows the emergence of this important new category within German-speaking Europe, tracing its rise from an insignificant eighteenth-century neologism to a defining rallying cry of modern German culture.
Today’s notion of a unified natural science has been deemed an invention of the mid-nineteenth century. Yet what Denise Phillips reveals here is that the idea of naturwissenschaft acquired a prominent place in German public life several decades earlier. Phillips uncovers the evolving outlines of the category of natural science and examines why Germans of varied social station and intellectual commitments came to find this label useful. An expanding education system, an increasingly vibrant consumer culture and urban social life, the early stages of industrialization, and the emergence of a liberal political movement all fundamentally altered the world in which educated Germans lived, and also reshaped the way they classified knowledge.
Shakespeare, Vermeer, Lope de Vega, Molière, and Diderot dont usually keep company with one another. But in this acclaimed book, Richard Helgerson shows that each contributed to a common project of great significance: the artistic promotion of the middle-class home. In a study that stretches over two centuries, Helgerson looks beneath European drama and painting to reveal an unexpected prehistory of modern domesticity.
For most of the twentieth century, the writings of aestheticians of the French Enlightenment were neglected by philosophers and students of the fine arts. Coleman has applied philosophical analysis to the writings of Diderot, Montesquieu, Dubos, Batteux, André, and Crousaz, among others, to reflect on the fine arts of the first two-thirds of the eighteenth century.
The Atlantic slave trade was the largest forced migration in history, yet most of its stories are lost. Randy Sparks examines the few remaining reconstructed experiences of West Africans who lived in the South between 1740 and 1860. Their stories highlight the diversity of struggles that confronted every African who arrived on American shores.
The 1676 killing of Metacomet, the tribal leader dubbed "King Philip" by colonists, is commonly seen as a watershed event, marking the end of a bloody war, dissolution of Indian society in New England, and even the disappearance of Native peoples from the region. This collection challenges that assumption, showing that Indians adapted and survived, existing quietly on the fringes of Yankee society, less visible than before but nonetheless retaining a distinct identity and heritage. While confinement on tiny reservations, subjection to increasing state regulation, enforced abandonment of traditional dress and means of support, and racist policies did cause dramatic changes, Natives nonetheless managed to maintain their Indianness through customs, kinship, and community.
In Air’s Appearance, Jayne Elizabeth Lewis enlists her readers in pursuit of the elusive concept of atmosphere in literary works. She shows how diverse conceptions of air in the eighteenth century converged in British fiction, producing the modern literary sense of atmosphere and moving novelists to explore the threshold between material and immaterial worlds.
Air’s Appearance links the emergence of literary atmosphere to changing ideas about air and the earth’s atmosphere in natural philosophy, as well as to the era’s theories of the supernatural and fascination with social manners—or, as they are now known, “airs.” Lewis thus offers a striking new interpretation of several standard features of the Enlightenment—the scientific revolution, the decline of magic, character-based sociability, and the rise of the novel—that considers them in terms of the romance of air that permeates and connects them. As it explores key episodes in the history of natural philosophy and in major literary works like Paradise Lost, “The Rape of the Lock,” Robinson Crusoe, and The Mysteries of Udolpho, this book promises to change the atmosphere of eighteenth-century studies and the history of the novel.
Since the dawn of the republic, faith in social equality, religious freedom, and the right to engage in civic activism have constituted our national creed. In this bracing history, Kathleen D. McCarthy traces the evolution of these ideals, exploring the impact of philanthropy and volunteerism on America from 1700 to 1865. What results is a vital reevaluation of public life during the pivotal decades leading up to the Civil War.
The market revolution, participatory democracy, and voluntary associations have all been closely linked since the birth of the United States. American Creed explores the relationships among these three institutions, showing how charities and reform associations forged partnerships with government, provided important safety valves for popular discontent, and sparked much-needed economic development. McCarthy also demonstrates how the idea of philanthropy became crucially wedded to social activism during the Jacksonian era. She explores how acts of volunteerism and charity became involved with the abolitionist movement, educational patronage, the struggle against racism, and female social justice campaigns. What resulted, she contends, were heated political battles over the extent to which women and African Americans would occupy the public stage.
Tracing, then, the evolution of civil society and the pivotal role of philanthropy in the search for and exercise of political and economic power, this book will prove essential to anyone interested in American history and government.
Provides a clear view of the realities of the economic and social interactions between Native groups and the expanding Euro-American population
The last quarter of the 18th century was a period of extensive political, economic, and social change in North America, as the continent-wide struggle between European superpowers waned. Native groups found themselves enmeshed in the market economy and new state forms of control, among other new threats to their cultural survival. Native populations throughout North America actively engaged the expanding marketplace in a variety of economic and social forms. These actions, often driven by and expressed through changes in material culture, were supported by a desire to maintain distinctive ethnic identities.
Illustrating the diversity of Native adaptations in an increasingly hostile and marginalized world, this volume is continental in scope—ranging from Connecticut to the Carolinas, and westward through Texas and Colorado. Calling on various theoretical perspectives, the authors provide nuanced perspectives on material culture use as a manipulation of the market economy. A thorough examination of artifacts used by Native Americans, whether of Euro-American or Native origin, this volume provides a clear view of the realities of the economic and social interactions between Native groups and the expanding Euro-American population and the engagement of these Native groups in determining their own fate.
The rapid expansion of the newspaper business in the first decade of the American republic had crucial consequences for cultural, commercial, and political life in the early United States, as the nation went from having dozens of weekly newspapers to hundreds. Before organized newsrooms and bureaus came on the scene, these fledgling publications were filled with content copied from other newspapers as well as letters, poems, religious tracts, and ribald anecdotes submitted by readers.
Taking up the New Hampshire newspaper industry as its case study, American Intelligence unpacks the ways in which an unprecedented quantity of printed material was gathered, distributed, marketed, and consumed, as well as the strong influence that it had on the shaping of the American political imagination. Ben P. Lafferty also considers the lives of the printers themselves and asks why so many men chose to pursue such a fraught and turbulent profession. This snapshot resonates with the contemporary media-saturated and politically chaotic age.
Carol Sue Humphrey’s The American Revolution and the Pressargues that newspapers played an important role during America’s struggle for independence by keeping Americans engaged in the war even when the fighting occurred in distant locales. From the moment that the colonials received word of Britain’s new taxes in 1764 until reports of the peace treaty arrived in 1783, the press constituted the major source of information about events and developments in the conflict with the mother country. Both Benjamin Franklin, one of the Revolution’s greatest leaders, and Ambrose Serle, a Loyalist, described the press as an “engine” that should be used to advance the cause. The efforts of Patriot printers to keep readers informed about the war helped ensure ultimate success by boosting morale and rallying Americans to the cause until victory was achieved. As Humphrey illustrates, Revolutionary-era newspapers provided the political and ideological unity that helped Americans secure their independence and create a new nation.
The Indians of coastal Long Island were closely attuned to their maritime environment. They hunted sea mammals, fished in coastal waters, and harvested shellfish. To celebrate the deep-water spirits, they sacrificed the tail and fins of the most powerful and awesome denizen of their maritime world—the whale. These Native Americans were whalemen, integral to the origin and development of the first American whaling enterprise in the years 1650 to 1750.
America’s Early Whalemen examines this early chapter of an iconic American historical experience. John A. Strong’s research draws on exhaustive sources, domestic and international, including little-known documents such as the whaling contracts of 340 Native American whalers, personal accounting books of whaling company owners, London customs records, estate inventories, and court records. Strong addresses labor relations, the role of alcohol and debt, the patterns of cultural accommodations by Native Americans, and the emergence of corporate capitalism in colonial America.
When Strong began teaching at Long Island University in 1964, he found little mention of the local Indigenous people in history books. The Shinnecocks and the neighboring tribes of Unkechaugs and Montauketts were treated as background figures for the celebratory narrative of the “heroic” English settlers. America’s Early Whalemen highlights the important contributions of Native peoples to colonial America.
In 1784, when Americans first voyaged to China, they confronted Chinese authorities who were unaware that the United States even existed. Nevertheless, a long, complicated, and fruitful trade relationship was born after American traders, missionaries, diplomats, and others sailed to China with lofty ambitions: to acquire fabulous wealth, convert China to Christianity, and even command a Chinese army.
In America's First Adventure in China, John Haddad provides a colorful history of the evolving cultural exchange and interactions between these countries. He recounts how American expatriates adopted a pragmatic attitude-as well as an entrepreneurial spirit and improvisational approach-to their dealings with the Chinese. Haddad shows how opium played a potent role in the dreams of Americans who either smuggled it or opposed its importation, and he considers the missionary movement that compelled individuals to accept a hard life in an alien culture.
As a result of their efforts, Americans achieved a favorable outcome—they established a unique presence in China—and cultivated a relationship whose complexities continue to grow.
Anglophone Poetry in Colonial India, 1780–1913: A Critical Anthology makes accessible for the first time the entire range of poems written in English on the subcontinent from their beginnings in 1780 to the watershed moment in 1913 when Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature.Mary Ellis Gibson establishes accurate texts for such well-known poets as Toru Dutt and the early nineteenth-century poet Kasiprasad Ghosh. The anthology brings together poets who were in fact colleagues, competitors, and influences on each other. The historical scope of the anthology, beginning with the famous Orientalist Sir William Jones and the anonymous “Anna Maria” and ending with Indian poets publishing in fin-de-siècle London, will enable teachers and students to understand what brought Kipling early fame and why at the same time Tagore’s Gitanjali became a global phenomenon. Anglophone Poetry in Colonial India, 1780–1913 puts all parties to the poetic conversation back together and makes their work accessible to American audiences.With accurate and reliable texts, detailed notes on vocabulary, historical and cultural references, and biographical introductions to more than thirty poets, this collection significantly reshapes the understanding of English language literary culture in India. It allows scholars to experience the diversity of poetic forms created in this period and to understand the complex religious, cultural, political, and gendered divides that shaped them.
During the eighteenth century, some of the most popular British poetry showed a responsiveness to animals that anticipated the later language of animal rights. Such poems were widely cited in later years by legislators advocating animal welfare laws like Martin’s Act of 1822, which provided protections for livestock. In The Animal Claim, Tobias Menely links this poetics of sensibility with Enlightenment political philosophy, the rise of the humanitarian public, and the fate of sentimentality, as well as longstanding theoretical questions about voice as a medium of communication.
In the Restoration and eighteenth century, philosophers emphasized the role of sympathy in collective life and began regarding the passionate expression humans share with animals, rather than the spoken or written word, as the elemental medium of community. Menely shows how poetry came to represent this creaturely voice and, by virtue of this advocacy, facilitated the development of a viable discourse of animal rights in the emerging public sphere. Placing sensibility in dialogue with classical and early-modern antecedents as well as contemporary animal studies, The Animal Claim uncovers crucial connections between eighteenth-century poetry; theories of communication; and post-absolutist, rights-based politics.
The only collection of all known letters of Christopher Smart provides the best psychological explanation to date of that complex and elusive eighteenth-century poet.
The significant characteristics that distinguish Smart’s prose letters from his poetry, Betty Rizzo and Robert Mahony note, are that his letters were requests for assistance while his verses were bequests, gifts in which he set great store. Indeed, it was Smart’s lifelong conviction that he was a poet of major importance.
As Smart biographer Karina Williamson notes, "The splendidly informative and vivaciously written accounts of the circumstances surrounding each letter, or group of letters, add up to what is in effect a miniature biography."
This book is a project in comparative history, but along two distinct axes, one historical and the other historiographical. Its purpose is to constructively juxtapose the early modern European and Chinese approaches to historical study that have been called "antiquarian." As an exercise in historical recovery, the essays in this volume amass new information about the range of antiquarian-type scholarship on the past, on nature, and on peoples undertaken at either end of the Eurasian landmass between 1500 and 1800. As a historiographical project, the book challenges the received---and often very much under conceptualized---use of the term "antiquarian" in both European and Chinese contexts. Readers will not only learn more about the range of European and Chinese scholarship on the past---and especially the material past---but they will also be able to integrate some of the historiographical observations and corrections into new ways of conceiving of the history of historical scholarship in Europe since the Renaissance, and to reflect on the impact of these European terms on Chinese approaches to the Chinese past. This comparison is a two-way street, with the European tradition clarified by knowledge of Chinese practices, and Chinese approaches better understood when placed alongside the European ones.
Many know Antonio Salieri only as Mozart's envious nemesis from the film Amadeus. In this well-illustrated work, John A. Rice shows us what a rich musical and personal history this popular stereotype has missed.
Bringing Salieri, his operas, and eighteenth-century Viennese theater vividly to life, Rice places Salieri where he belongs: no longer lurking in Mozart's shadow, but standing proudly among the leading opera composers of his age. Rice's research in the archives of Vienna and close study of his scores reveal Salieri to have been a prolific, versatile, and adventurous composer for the stage. Within the extraordinary variety of Salieri's approaches to musical dramaturgy, Rice identifies certain habits of orchestration, melodic style, and form as distinctively "Salierian"; others are typical of Viennese opera in general. A generous selection of excerpts from Salieri's works, most previously unpublished, will give readers a fuller appreciation for his musical style—and its influence on Mozart—than was previously possible.
Why do we eat? Is it instinct? Despite the necessity of food, anxieties about what and how to eat are widespread and persistent. In Appetite and Its Discontents, Elizabeth A. Williams explores contemporary worries about eating through the lens of science and medicine to show us how appetite—once a matter of personal inclination—became an object of science.
Williams charts the history of inquiry into appetite between 1750 and 1950, as scientific and medical concepts of appetite shifted alongside developments in physiology, natural history, psychology, and ethology. She shows how, in the eighteenth century, trust in appetite was undermined when researchers who investigated ingestion and digestion began claiming that science alone could say which ways of eating were healthy and which were not. She goes on to trace nineteenth- and twentieth-century conflicts over the nature of appetite between mechanists and vitalists, experimentalists and bedside physicians, and localists and holists, illuminating struggles that have never been resolved. By exploring the core disciplines in investigations in appetite and eating, Williams reframes the way we think about food, nutrition, and the nature of health itself..
The age of the Baroque—a time when great strides were made in science and mathematics—witnessed the construction of some of the world's most magnificent buildings. What did the work of great architects such as Bernini, Blondel, Guarini, and Wren have to do with Descartes, Galileo, Kepler, Desargues, and Newton? Here, George Hersey explores the ways in which Baroque architecture, with its dramatic shapes and playful experimentation with classical forms, reflects the scientific thinking of the time. He introduces us to a concept of geometry that encompassed much more than the science we know today, one that included geometrics (number and shape games), as well as the art of geomancy, or magic and prophecy using shapes and numbers.
Hersey first concentrates on specific problems in geometry and architectural design. He then explores the affinities between musical chords and several types of architectural form. He turns to advances in optics, such as artificial lenses and magic lanterns, to show how architects incorporated light, a heavenly emanation, into their impressive domes. With ample illustrations and lucid, witty language, Hersey shows how abstract ideas were transformed into visual, tactile form—the epicycles of the cosmos, the sexual mystique surrounding the cube, and the imperfections of heavenly bodies. Some two centuries later, he finds that the geometric principles of the Baroque resonate, often unexpectedly, in the work of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. A discussion of these surprising links to the past rounds out this brilliant reexamination of some of the long-forgotten beliefs and practices that helped produce some of Europe's greatest masterpieces.
What happens if we abandon the assumption that a person is a discrete, world-making agent who acts on and creates place? This, Monique Allewaert contends, is precisely what occurred on eighteenth-century American plantations, where labor practices and ecological particularities threatened the literal and conceptual boundaries that separated persons from the natural world.
Integrating political philosophy and ecocriticism with literary analysis, Ariel’s Ecology explores the forms of personhood that developed out of New World plantations, from Georgia and Florida through Jamaica to Haiti and extending into colonial metropoles such as Philadelphia. Allewaert’s examination of the writings of naturalists, novelists, and poets; the oral stories of Africans in the diaspora; and Afro-American fetish artifacts shows that persons in American plantation spaces were pulled into a web of environmental stresses, ranging from humidity to the demand for sugar. This in turn gave rise to modes of personhood explicitly attuned to human beings’ interrelation with nonhuman forces in a process we might call ecological.
Certainly the possibility that colonial life revokes human agency haunts works from Shakespeare’s Tempest and Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws to Spivak’s theories of subalternity. In Allewaert’s interpretation, the transformation of colonial subjectivity into ecological personhood is not a nightmare; it is, rather, a mode of existence until now only glimmering in Che Guevara’s dictum that postcolonial resistance is synonymous with “perfect knowledge of the ground.”
Armed Ambiguity is a fascinating examination of the tropes of the woman warrior constructed by print culture—including press reports, novels, dramatic works, and lyrical texts—during the decades-long conflict in Europe around 1800.
In it, Julie Koser sheds new light on how women’s bodies became a battleground for competing social, cultural, and political agendas in one of the most pivotal periods of modern history. She traces the women warriors in this work as reflections of the social and political climate in German-speaking lands, and she reveals how literary texts and cultural artifacts that highlight women’s armed insurrection perpetuated the false dichotomy of "public" versus "private" spheres along a gendered fault line. Koser illuminates how reactionary visions of "ideal femininity" competed with subversive fantasies of new femininities in the ideological battle being waged over the restructuring of German society.
Art of Darkness is an ambitious attempt to describe the principles governing Gothic literature. Ranging across five centuries of fiction, drama, and verse—including tales as diverse as Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Shelley's Frankenstein, Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Freud's The Mysteries of Enlightenment—Anne Williams proposes three new premises: that Gothic is "poetic," not novelistic, in nature; that there are two parallel Gothic traditions, Male and Female; and that the Gothic and the Romantic represent a single literary tradition.
Building on the psychoanalytic and feminist theory of Julia Kristeva, Williams argues that Gothic conventions such as the haunted castle and the family curse signify the fall of the patriarchal family; Gothic is therefore "poetic" in Kristeva's sense because it reveals those "others" most often identified with the female. Williams identifies distinct Male and Female Gothic traditions: In the Male plot, the protagonist faces a cruel, violent, and supernatural world, without hope of salvation. The Female plot, by contrast, asserts the power of the mind to comprehend a world which, though mysterious, is ultimately sensible. By showing how Coleridge and Keats used both Male and Female Gothic, Williams challenges accepted notions about gender and authorship among the Romantics. Lucidly and gracefully written, Art of Darkness alters our understanding of the Gothic tradition, of Romanticism, and of the relations between gender and genre in literary history.
In 1790, two events marked important points in the development of two young American institutions—Congress decided that the new nation's seat of government would be on the banks of the Potomac, and John Carroll of Maryland was consecrated as America's first Catholic bishop. This coincidence of events signalled the unexpectedly important role that Maryland's Catholics, many of them by then fifth- and sixth-generation Americans, were to play in the growth and early government of the national capital. In this book, William W. Warner explores how Maryland's Catholics drew upon their long-standing traditions—advocacy of separation of church and state, a sense of civic duty, and a determination "to live at peace with all their neighbors," in Bishop Carroll's phrase—to take a leading role in the early government, financing, and building of the new capital.
Beginning with brief histories of the area's first Catholic churches and the establishment of Georgetown College, At Peace with All Their Neighbors explains the many reasons behind the Protestant majority's acceptance of Catholicism in the national capital in an age often marked by religious intolerance. Shortly after the capital moved from Philadelphia in 1800, Catholics held the principal positions in the city government and were also major landowners, property investors, and bankers. In the decade before the 1844 riots over religious education erupted in Philadelphia, the municipal government of Georgetown gave public funds for a Catholic school and Congress granted land in Washington for a Catholic orphanage.
The book closes with a remarkable account of how the Washington community, Protestants and Catholics alike, withstood the concentrated efforts of the virulently anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic American nativists and the Know-Nothing Party in the last two decades before the Civil War.
This chronicle of Washington's Catholic community and its major contributions to the growth of the nations's capital will be of value for everyone interested in the history of Washington, D.C., Catholic history, and the history of religious toleration in America.
A handful of sea stories define the American maritime narrative. Stories of whaling, fishing, exploration, naval adventure, and piracy have always captured our imaginations, and the most colorful of these are the tales of piracy. Called America’s real-life Robinson Crusoe, the true story of Philip Ashton—a nineteen-year-old fisherman captured by pirates, impressed as a crewman, subjected to torture and hardship, who eventually escaped and lived as a castaway and scavenger on a deserted island in the Caribbean—was at one time as well known as the tales of Cooper, Hawthorne, and Defoe. Based on a rare copy of Ashton’s 1725 account, Gregory N. Flemming’s vivid portrait recounts this maritime world during the golden age of piracy. Fishing vessels and merchantmen plied the coastal waters and crisscrossed the Atlantic and Caribbean. It was a hard, dangerous life, made more so by both the depredations and temptations of piracy. Chased by the British Royal Navy, blown out of the water or summarily hung when caught, pirate captains such as Edward Low kidnapped, cajoled, beat, and bribed men like Ashton into the rich—but also vile, brutal, and often short—life of the pirate. In the tradition of Nathaniel Philbrick, At the Point of a Cutlass expands on a lost classic narrative of America and the sea, and brings to life a forgotten world of ships and men on both sides of maritime law.
Sailing the tide of a tumultuous era of Atlantic revolutions, a remarkable group of African-born and African-descended individuals transformed themselves from slaves into active agents of their lives and times. Through prodigious archival research, Jane Landers radically alters our vision of the breadth and extent of the Age of Revolution, and our understanding of its actors.