After the Digging
Alan Shapiro University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress PS3569.H338A69 1998 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
After the Digging provides an exceptional look at the early work of acclaimed poet Alan Shapiro. His first collection of poems allows readers to realize his strong sense of historical narrative and gives them reference on how to read his later poems. Inspired by his time at Stanford in the late seventies, the book is divided into two parts: the first is a sequence on the Irish Famine in the mid-nineteenth century; the second, a series on demonic possession in late seventeenth-century New England. These poems give voice to the pain and delusion of those from other periods and inevitably recall the many evils of our own century.
"Powerful. . . . That a young poet can handle this subject so well in a first book is . . . a pleasure in itself."—Robert von Hallberg, Contemporary Literature, 1981
The most widely practiced and read form of verse in America, “elegies are poems about being left behind,” writes Max Cavitch. American Elegy is the history of a diverse people’s poetic experience of mourning and of mortality’s profound challenge to creative living. By telling this history in political, psychological, and aesthetic terms, American Elegy powerfully reconnects the study of early American poetry to the broadest currents of literary and cultural criticism.Cavitch begins by considering eighteenth-century elegists such as Franklin, Bradstreet, Mather, Wheatley, Freneau, and Annis Stockton, highlighting their defiance of boundaries—between public and private, male and female, rational and sentimental—and demonstrating how closely intertwined the work of mourning and the work of nationalism were in the revolutionary era. He then turns to elegy’s adaptations during the market-driven Jacksonian age, including more obliquely elegiac poems like those of William Cullen Bryant and the popular child elegies of Emerson, Lydia Sigourney, and others. Devoting unprecedented attention to the early African-American elegy, Cavitch discusses poems written by free blacks and slaves, as well as white abolitionists, seeing in them the development of an African-American genealogical imagination. In addition to a major new reading of Whitman’s great elegy for Lincoln, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” Cavitch takes up less familiar passages from Whitman as well as Melville’s and Lazarus’s poems following Lincoln’s death. American Elegy offers critical and often poignant insights into the place of mourning in American culture. Cavitch examines literary responses to historical events—such as the American Revolution, Native American removal, African-American slavery, and the Civil War—and illuminates the states of loss, hope, desire, and love in American studies today.Max Cavitch is assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Antinomian controversy—a seventeenth-century theological crisis concerning salvation—was the first great intellectual crisis in the settlement of New England. Transcending the theological questions from which it arose, this symbolic controversy became a conflict between power and freedom of conscience. David D. Hall’s thorough documentary history of this episode sheds important light on religion, society, and gender in early American history. This new edition of the 1968 volume, published now for the first time in paperback, includes an expanding bibliography and a new preface, treating in more detail the prime figures of Anne Hutchinson and her chief clerical supporter, John Cotton. Among the documents gathered here are transcripts of Anne Hutchinson’s trial, several of Cotton’s writings defending the Antinomian position, and John Winthrop’s account of the controversy. Hall’s increased focus on Hutchinson reveals the harshness and excesses with which the New England ministry tried to discredit her and reaffirms her place of prime importance in the history of American women.
Renaissance Essays, published in 1985, confirmed Hugh Trevor-Roper's reputation as one of the most distinguished writers of history and as an unequaled master of the historical essay. Received with critical acclaim in both England and the United States, the volume gathered wide-ranging essays on both British and European history from the fifteenth century to the early seventeenth centuries. This sequel, Catholics, Anglicans, and Puritans, is composed of five previously unpublished essays on the intellectual and religious movements which lay behind the Puritan revolution in England and Ireland.
The opening essay, a skillful work of historical detection, investigates the strange career of Nicholas Hill. In "Laudianism and Political Power," Trevor-Roper returns to the subject of his first, now classic, book. He analyzes the real significance of the ecclesiastical movement associated with Archbishop Laud and speculates on what might have happened if the Stuarts had not abandoned it. "James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh" deals with a key figure in the intellectual and religious life of his time. A long essay on "The Great Tew Circle" reinstates Lord Falkland as an important influence on the continuity of ideas through the English revolution. The final essay reassesses the political ideology of Milton.
English intellectual history, as Trevor-Roper constructs it here for the seventeenth century, is conditioned by its social and political context. Always engaging and fresh, these essays deal with currently interesting historical topics and up-to-date controversies.
From the pilgrims to Las Vegas, hippie communes to the smart city, utopianism has shaped American landscapes. The Puritan small town was the New Jerusalem. Thomas Jefferson dreamed of rational farm grids. Reformers tackled slums through crusades of civic architecture. To understand American space, Alex Krieger looks to the drama of utopian ideals.
Thomas P. Miller defines college English studies as literacy studies and examines how it has evolved in tandem with broader developments in literacy and the literate. He maps out “four corners” of English departments: literature, language studies, teacher education, and writing studies. Miller identifies their development with broader changes in the technologies and economies of literacy that have redefined what students write and read, which careers they enter, and how literature represents their experiences and aspirations.
Miller locates the origins of college English studies in the colonial transition from a religious to an oratorical conception of literature. A belletristic model of literature emerged in the nineteenth century in response to the spread of the “penny” press and state-mandated schooling. Since literary studies became a common school subject, professors of literature have distanced themselves from teachers of literacy. In the Progressive era, that distinction came to structure scholarly organizations such as the MLA, while NCTE was established to develop more broadly based teacher coalitions. In the twentieth century New Criticism came to provide the operating assumptions for the rise of English departments, until those assumptions became critically overloaded with the crash of majors and jobs that began in 1970s and continues today.
For models that will help the discipline respond to such challenges, Miller looks to comprehensive departments of English that value studies of teaching, writing, and language as well as literature. According to Miller, departments in more broadly based institutions have the potential to redress the historical alienation of English departments from their institutional base in work with literacy. Such departments have a potentially quite expansive articulation apparatus. Many are engaged with writing at work in public life, with schools and public agencies, with access issues, and with media, ethnic, and cultural studies. With the privatization of higher education, such pragmatic engagements become vital to sustaining a civic vision of English studies and the humanities generally.
Female Piety and the Invention of American Puritanism reconsiders the standard critical view that women’s religious experiences were either silent consent or hostile response to mainstream Puritan institutions. In this groundbreaking new approach to American Puritanism, Bryce Traister asks how gendered understandings of authentic religious experience contributed to the development of seventeenth-century religious culture and to the “post-religious” historiography of Puritanism in secular modernity. He argues that women were neither marginal nor hostile to the theological and cultural ambitions of seventeenth-century New England religious culture and, indeed, that radicalized female piety was in certain key respects the driving force of New England Puritan culture.
Uncovering the feminine interiority of New England Protestantism, Female Piety and the Invention of American Puritanism positions itself against prevalent historical arguments about the rise of secularism in the modern West. Traister demonstrates that female spirituality became a principal vehicle through which Puritan identity became both absorbed within and foundational for pre-national secular culture. Engaging broadly with debates about religion and secularization, national origins and transnational unsettlements, and gender and cultural authority, this is a foundational reconsideration both of American Puritanism itself and of “American Puritanism” as it has been understood in relation to secular modernity.
From the almshouses of seventeenth-century Puritans to the massive housing projects of the mid-twentieth century, the struggle over housing assistance in the United States has exposed a deep-seated ambivalence about the place of the urban poor. Lawrence J. Vale's groundbreaking book is both a comprehensive institutional history of public housing in Boston and a broader examination of the nature and extent of public obligation to house socially and economically marginal Americans during the past 350 years.
First, Vale highlights startling continuities both in the way housing assistance has been delivered to the American poor and in the policies used to reward the nonpoor. He traces the stormy history of the Boston Housing Authority, a saga of entrenched patronage and virulent racism tempered, and partially overcome, by the efforts of unyielding reformers. He explores the birth of public housing as a program intended to reward the upwardly mobile working poor, details its painful transformation into a system designed to cope with society's least advantaged, and questions current policy efforts aimed at returning to a system of rewards for responsible members of the working class. The troubled story of Boston public housing exposes the mixed motives and ideological complexity that have long characterized housing in America, from the Puritans to the projects.
Michael P. Winship Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress F67.W699 2012 | Dewey Decimal 321.8609744
Puritans did not find a life free from tyranny in the new world—they created it there. Massachusetts emerged a republic as they hammered out a vision of popular participation and limited government in church and state, spurred by Plymouth pilgrims. Godly Republicanism underscores how pathbreaking yet rooted in puritanism’s history the project was.
The idea of a heavenly contract, uniting God and humanity in a bargain of salvation, emerged as the keystone of Puritan theology in early modern England. Yet this concept, with its connotations of exchange and reciprocity, runs counter to other tenets of Calvinism, such as predestination, that were also central to Puritan thought. With bold analytic intelligence, David Zaret explores this puzzling conflict between covenant theology and pure Calvinism. In the process he demonstrates that popular beliefs and activities had tremendous influence on Puritan religion.
Geoffrey F. Nuttall establishes the primacy of the doctrines of the Holy Spirit in seventeenth-century English Puritanism and demonstrates the continuity of the Reformation tradition from the more conservative views of Luther to the more radical interpretations of the Quakers. Nuttall illuminates prominent spokesmen, including Richard Sibbes, Richard Baxter, John Owen, Walter Cradock, Morgan Llwyd, and George Fox.
In a new Introduction, Peter Lake discusses the relevance of Nuttall's book to, and its influence on, major works in seventeenth-century English history written since 1946.
Invisible Masters rewrites the familiar narrative of the relation between Puritan religious culture and New England’s economic culture as a history of the primary discourse that connected them: service. The understanding early Puritans had of themselves as God’s servants and earthly masters was shaped by their immersion in an Atlantic culture of service and the worldly pressures and opportunities generated by New England’s particular place in it. Concepts of spiritual service and mastery determined Puritan views of the men, women, and children who were servants and slaves in that world. So, too, did these concepts shape the experience of family, labor, law, and economy for those men, women, and children—the very bedrock of their lives. This strikingly original look at Puritan culture will appeal to a wide range of Americanists and historians.
One of the most famous American journals is that of seventeenth-century Puritan leader John Winthrop. As the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, an office he held with few interruptions for two decades, he worked to establish a society in which he thought true Christianity could flourish, beyond the reach of the unfaithful Church of England. Winthrop recorded the daily events of his life—the political infighting and religious disputes among Puritans, as well as their relations with other colonists, Indians, and England. His journal is a window into a world that, while unfamiliar, continues to influence our sense of the meaning of America.
In the first in-depth study of Winthrop since 1958, James G. Moseley provides a fascinating new look at this extraordinary man, paying careful attention to the connections between Winthrop’s political activity and his writing. Moseley first examines Winthrop as a writer, using the journal to analyze Winthrop as a man resolving challenges based as much on his acutely pragmatic intelligence as on his deeply felt religious convictions. Second, Moseley traces how historians have responded to Winthrop—how his famous journal has been read and misread by those who have filtered the man and his cultural context through many lenses.
By examining Winthrop’s ancestors and early life in England, especially the religious changes he experienced, Moseley removes the blinders of modernism, portraying Winthrop as never before. He shows how Winthrop’s successful struggle to accept the deaths of his first two wives led him away from moralistic views of Christianity, himself, and his world to more magnanimous views.
Arguing that writing was the medium through which Winthrop developed his capacity for leadership, Moseley shows how the journal enabled Winthrop to reflect objectively on his situation and to adjust his behavior. Winthrop was, Moseley suggests, not only a politician but a historian, and his interpretations of foundational events in American history in his journal are an invaluable resource for understanding the nature of leadership and the meaning of liberty in Puritan America. Winthrop’s World is a very graceful, well-written, and engaging narrative that provides new insight into the Puritan way of life and into the man who provided a window between our world and his.
The New England Mind
Perry Miller Harvard University Press, 1982 Library of Congress F7.M56 1983 | Dewey Decimal 974.02
The New England Mind
Perry MILLER Harvard University Press, 1953 Library of Congress F7.M54 1983 | Dewey Decimal 974
The New England Mind: From Colony to Province is one of Perry Miller’s masterworks, exploring the intellectual history of the Puritans through a deep investigation of the thought of the Puritan divines. In this book, as well as its predecessor The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century, Miller asserts a single intellectual history for America that could be traced to the Puritan belief system.
"Opening Scripture provides a thorough and original account of ministerial and lay strategies for interpreting Scripture in the Massachusetts Bay. Demonstrating an impressive command of the vast literature and history of the period, Lisa Gordis moves deftly through discussions of major figures and events. This is a significant intervention in the study of Puritan New England."—Sandra M. Gustafson, University of Notre Dame
What role did the Bible really play in Puritan New England? Many have treated it as a blunt instrument used to cudgel dissenters into submission, but Lisa M. Gordis reveals instead that Puritan readings of the Bible showed great complexity and literary sophistication—so much complexity, in fact, that controversies over biblical interpretation threatened to tear Puritan society apart.
Drawing on Puritan preaching manuals and sermons as well as the texts of early religious controversies, Gordis argues that Puritan ministers did not expect to impose their views on their congregations. Instead they believed that interpretive consensus would emerge from the process of reading the Bible, with the Holy Spirit assisting readers to understand God's will. Treating the conflict over Roger Williams, the Antinomian Controversy, and the reluctant compromises of the Halfway Covenant as symptoms of a crisis that was as much literary as it was social or spiritual, Opening Scripture explores the profound consequences of Puritan negotiations over biblical interpretation for New England's literature and history.
This revised and updated edition of an out-of-print classic once again makes the broad background of Puritanism accessible to students and general readers. Based on a chronology that begins with the Act of Supremacy in 1534 and ends with Jonathan Edwards's death in 1758, Francis J. Bremer's interpretive synthesis of the causes and contexts of the Puritan movement integrates analyses of the religious, political, sociological, economic, and cultural changes wrought by the movement in both Old and New England. From meeting house architecture to Salem witch trials, from relations with Native Americans to the founding of the nation's first colleges, he details with style and grace "a living system of faith" that not only had profound significance for tens of thousands of Englishmen and Americans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but also affected the course of history in the New World.
The Puritan Ordeal
Andrew DELBANCO Harvard University Press, 1989 Library of Congress BX9322.D45 1989 | Dewey Decimal 285.90973
More than an ecclesiastical or political history, this book is a vivid description of the earliest American immigrant experience. It depicts the dramatic tale of the seventeenth-century newcomers to our shores as they were drawn and pushed to make their way in an unsettled and unsettling world.
Reviews of this book: "A powerfully imaginative and personal book--perhaps as all great American books on the Puritans must be."
--Gordon S. Wood, New York Review of Books
"The arguments in this book will resonate in the study of American culture for years to come...There is much to recommend this book ... historians and literary critics alike will be challenged by [it]. The Puritan Ordeal shows great promise for the continuing study of the life of the mind in America."
--Bruce Tucker, Journal of American History
"Delbanco's singular achievement in The Puritan Ordeal remains his sensitive, attentive, and generous recovery of the first emigrants' voices...[This book] may well provide the richest transcription we have of the hesitant, bewildered yet ultimately hopeful new-world inflections that register everywhere in early American culture."
--Donald Weber, American Literary History
"The author of this study, displaying an ideal combination of sensibility and judgement, discusses the Puritans who fled to New England and traces the effect of their immigrant experience on American literature. Like later immigrants, they found that emotional rifts opened between the first and second generations, and, like other English religious radicals, they were disturbed by women's demands for religious equality. The Puritan hope of creating a Christian--nonexploitative--economy in the New World was disappointed, and the dominant strand in Puritan thought became the need to constrain sinful human beings. However, Mr. Delbanco believes that it was the other strand in Puritan thought--the aspiration toward a community of saints--which became an important influence on American literature."
"Against those historians whose primary interest has been the life of the mind or the development of the ecclesia, Delbanco emphasizes the fact that the Puritans were first and foremost a group of immigrants. This book offers a perceptive look at the inner history of that particular group."
--American Journal of Theology and Philosophy
"Andrew Delbanco's book is concerned with one of the most famous achievements of the Puritan spirit, the colonisation of New England. Popular American mythology depicts this as a classic triumph of faith over adversity. Mr. Delbanco shows convincingly that it is more truly seen as an 'ordeal', marked by tensions already present in the old world and intensified in the new."
"A noteworthy historical analysis."
"This is a learned, well-researched, quotable text, delving deeply into matters of scholastic debate; yet the most interesting parts illuminate the felt experience of the earliest New Englanders: their passion for sermons, their Pauline belief in sudden transformations through grace."
Many students of our national character would agree that, for better or worse, the Puritan tradition had an enormous effect on the assumptions and aspirations of today's Americans. This book tells the story, largely through the participants' own words, of the emergence of that tradition. It provides a broad range of primary documents--religious, political, social, legal, familial, and economic--for an understanding of Puritanism in early New England. Originally published in 1972, it is reissued here with a new introduction and two new documents: extracts from Anne Hutchinson's trial and from John Winthrop's "Experiencia".
The Puritans in America
Alan HEIMERT Harvard University Press, 1985 Library of Congress BX9318.P87 1985 | Dewey Decimal 285.90974
Exiled from England, the Puritans settled in what Cromwell called "a poor, cold, and useless" place--where they created a body of ideas and aspirations that were essential in the shaping of American religion, politics, and culture. In a felicitous blend of documents and narrative Heimert and Delbanco recapture the sweep and restless change of Puritan thought from its incipient Americanism through its dominance in New England society to its fragmentation in the face of dissent from within and without.
The Real American Dream
Andrew DELBANCO Harvard University Press, 1999 Library of Congress E169.1.D416 1999 | Dewey Decimal 973.01
Since we discovered that, in Tocqueville's words, "the incomplete joys of this world will never satisfy the heart," how have we Americans made do? In The Real American Dream one of the nation's premier literary scholars searches out the symbols and stories by which Americans have reached for something beyond worldly desire. A spiritual history ranging from the first English settlements to the present day, the book is also a lively, deeply learned meditation on hope.
Andrew Delbanco tells of the stringent God of Protestant Christianity, who exerted immense force over the language, institutions, and customs of the culture for nearly 200 years. He describes the falling away of this God and the rise of the idea of a sacred nation-state. And, finally, he speaks of our own moment, when symbols of nationalism are in decline, leaving us with nothing to satisfy the longing for transcendence once sustained by God and nation.
From the Christian story that expressed the earliest Puritan yearnings to New Age spirituality, apocalyptic environmentalism, and the multicultural search for ancestral roots that divert our own, The Real American Dream evokes the tidal rhythm of American history. It shows how Americans have organized their days and ordered their lives--and ultimately created a culture--to make sense of the pain, desire, pleasure, and fear that are the stuff of human experience. In a time of cultural crisis, when the old stories seem to be faltering, this book offers a lesson in the painstaking remaking of the American dream.
Religion, Order, and Law
David Little University of Chicago Press, 1984 Library of Congress BR757.L66 1984 | Dewey Decimal 306.6
"The issue of the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism has been debated endlessly, but few scholars have seriously continued Weber's own research into the Reformation sources of seventeenth-century England. David Little's study was one of the first to do so, and remains an important contribution."—Guenther Roth, University of Washington
In this provocative and thought-provoking volume, Christopher Leise sheds new light on modern American novelists who question not only the assumption that Puritans founded New England—and, by extension, American identity—but also whether Puritanism ever existed in the United States at all.
The Story upon a Hill: The Puritan Myth in Contemporary American Fiction analyzes the work of several of the most important contemporary writers in the United States as reinterpreting commonplace narratives of the country’s origins with a keen eye on the effects of inclusion and exclusion that Puritan myths promote. In 1989, Ronald Reagan recalled the words of Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop, who imagined the colony as a “city upon a hill” for future nations to emulate. In Reagan’s speech, Winthrop’s signature rhetoric became an emblem of American idealism, and for many Americans, the Puritans’ New England was the place where the United States forged its original identity.
But what if Winthrop never gave that speech? What if he did not even write it? Historians cannot definitively answer these questions. In fact, no group that we refer to as American Puritans thought of themselves as Puritans. Rather, they were a group of dissident Christians often better defined by their disagreements than their shared beliefs.
Literary scholars interested in Anglo-American literary production from the seventeenth century through the present, historians, and readers interested in how ideas about Christianity circulate in popular culture will find fascinating the ways in which William Gaddis, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, and Marilynne Robinson repurpose so-called Puritan forms of expression to forge a new narrative of New England’s Congregationalist legacy in American letters. Works by Colson Whitehead, Paul Auster, Toni Morrison, and others are also considered. The Story upon a Hill raises a provocative question: if the Puritans never existed as we understand them, what might American history look like in that context?
Thornton Wilder and the Puritan Narrative Tradition is the first reading of Wilder’s life, fiction, drama, and criticism as a product of American culture. Early American studies by Sacvan Bercovitch, Mason Lowance Jr., Emory Elliott, and others have identified aspects of the American literary tradition stemming from New England Puritan writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Lincoln Konkle extends the argument for continuity into both the twentieth century and the profane space of the theater.
Konkle shows that Thornton Wilder, as a literary descendant of Edward Taylor, inherited the best of the Puritans’ worldview and drew upon those attributes of the Puritan tradition within American literature that would strike a fundamental chord with his American audience. By providing close readings of Wilder’s texts against seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Puritan culture and literature, Konkle demonstrates that Wilder’s aesthetic was not just generically allegorical but also typically American and his religious sensibility was not just generally Christian, but specifically Calvinist. He alsoemphasizes aspects of Puritan theology, ideology, and aesthetics that have been suppressed or repressed into our cultural unconscious but are manifested in Wilder’s texts in response to various historical or personal stimuli.
Konkle makes an original contribution to Wilder scholarship by providing the first in-depth readings of the full-length play The Trumpet Shall Sound and of the film Shadow of a Doubt (as a major work of Wilder). Also included are readings of little-known and seldom-discussed dramatic pieces, including Proserpina and the Devil, And the Sea Shall Give Up Its Dead, and Our Century. With its emphasis on the continuities of thought and form found in American literature from the seventeenth century to the twentieth, this analysis of Wilder’s drama and fiction will reclaim him as an intrinsically American writer, deserving to be read within the context of American literary and cultural traditions.
Under Household Government
M. Michelle Jarrett Morris Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress HV6592.M67 2012 | Dewey Decimal 364.153097440903
The Puritans were not as busy policing their neighbors’ behavior as Nathaniel Hawthorne or many early American historians would have us believe. Keeping their own households in line occupied too much of their time. Under Household Government reveals that family members took on the role of watchdogs in matters of sexual indiscretion.
What has gone wrong with discourse and deliberation in the United States? It remains monologic, argues Patricia Roberts-Miller in Voices in the Wilderness, which traces America’s dominant form of argumentation back to its roots in the rhetorical tradition of 17th-century American Puritans. A work of composition theory, rhetorical theory, and cultural criticism, this volume ultimately provides not only new approaches to argumentation and the teaching of rhetoric, composition, and communication but also an original perspective on the current debate over public discourse
Both Jürgen Habermas and Wayne Booth—two of the most influential theorists in the domain of public discourse and good citizenry—argue for an inclusive public deliberation that involves people who are willing to listen to one another, to identify points of agreement and disagreement, and to make good faith attempts to validate any disputed claims. The Puritan voice crying in the wilderness, Roberts-Miller shows, does none of these things. To this individual of conscience engaged in a ceaseless battle of right and wrong against greedy philistines, all inclusion, mediation, and reciprocity are seen as evil, corrupting, and unnecessary. Hence, the voice in the wilderness does not in any real sense participate in public deliberation, only in public pronouncement.
Arguing that our culture’s continuing affection for the ethos of the voice crying in the wilderness is one of our more troubling inheritances from the early American ambivalence to public discourse—including the Puritan denigration of rhetoric—Roberts-Miller contends that the monologic discourse of the Puritans in fact contains within it arguments for dialogism. Thus, the history of rhetoric can provide much richer fields for reimagining discourse than heretofore credited. Roberts-Miller concludes by extending her findings into their practical applications for argumentation in the public sphere and in the composition classroom.