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US Lit – Colonial Literature – American Literature (1607-1763)

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The History of Plymouth Plantation
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-Written by William Bradford. -The separatist movement in England is described, exile in Holland, and the voyage of the Mayflower. -This journal covered the years from 1620 to 1657 in Plymouth. -Wrote about the community dispersing and losing their spiritual identity for economic gain -Style: Dignified and grave -Historical book
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Colonial Literature – Historical background (1607-1763)
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-The first printing press set up in Harvard -Two themes dominated literature: politics and religion -writing focused on the defense/explanation of religious beliefs -protestantism emphasized exclusive authority of the bible (revealed word of god) -sermons by puritan preachers (plain, logical, clear rhetoric) -Preachers combined biblical imagery and facts about living in America -Puritans used allegories (emphasizing the symbolic nature of the world) -Diaries (handed down to sons/daughters) demanded righteous behavior. -Moral stories, elegies, apocalyptic expectations
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Most important authors – Colonial Literature
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Most important authors: William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, William Byrd. (Same time as British Renaissance)
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Colonial literature – characteristics (1607-1763)
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– Puritans (as the most educated, and most committed to intellectualism) ad the greatest impact on colonial lit. -Calvanism -Harvard college (1639) and Harvard printing press (1693) -Two themes dominated lit: religion and politics -Plain rhetoric, empathizing logic and clarity -Allegories (ie: indian attacks or a natural event with spiritual significance) -Puritan dogma was based on determinism -Enthusiasm for moral stories (Livy, Tacitus and Plutarch) -Symbolic nature of the world -Diaries and historical accounts were used to record their historical accounts as settlers. – All puritans wrote diaries to be passed down to children -Determined and righteous -Elegies for the loss of a loved one -Biblical imagery – hard work/work ethic – sin – bilical allusions – predesination -simplicity…puritan plain -guilt, shame, sin -literature reveals the lives and experiences of the New England expatriates who left England to find religious freedom -Non-fiction genre essays: Essay, pamphlet, speech, famous document, and epistle
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Colonial Literature – Major writers and works (1607-1763)
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Anne Bradstreet, John Winthrop, Jonathan Edwards Others: William Byrd, William Bradford, etc.
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John Smith
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Colonial Literature – Jamestown (1580-1631) -Considered the earliest writer of American Literature -Condemned to death by Chesapeake Kind Powhatan, and was rescued by Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas. -Romantic parable of white triumph over indian opposition. Wrote the first book in written in English in America. Also wrote Description of New England
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William Bradford
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Colonial Literature (1590-1675) -Wrote: Of Plymouth Plantation -Pilgram and separatist -Governor of the Plymouth Colony for about thirty years between 1621 and 1657. -william bradford vs. willian shakespeare -Became the best source of information about the pilgrims and early colonization of New England. -Also wrote The Mayflower Compact (relates the hardships of crossing the Atlantic in such a tiny vessel, the misery of the first winter, approaches of the american indians, and establishment of Bay Colony Mass) -1620 migrated to the Plymouth Colony on the Mayflower. -He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact and went on to serve as
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*JOHN WINTHROP
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Colonial Literature -(1588-1649) First governor of Mass Bay Colony, Massachusetts (Boston – city on a hill). -Puritan -Wealthy English lawyer -Believed that God sent his people to the New World and that all of Europe was watching to see if they would succeed or fail. Though they were a model for the rest of the world for what Christianity should be. -Sermon: A Model of Christian Charity -Journal: The History of New England
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Richard Mather
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Colonial Literature (1596-1669) -Puritan minster in Boston -Grandfather to Cotton Mather -An English clergyman who was suspended from the Anglican Church because of Puritan tendencies -Became the leader of the Separatist Church at Mass bay. -His most remember work is the Bay Psalm Book, rhymed versions of the psalms.
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*ANNE BRADSTREET
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Colonial literature and Puritan Poetry (1612-1672) Strongly influenced by Elizabethan poets. Also used conceits that we also used by metaphysical poets -Poetry (although she did so with guilt as women did not do this in those days) -Composed journals about colonial New England life, the hardships of travel, the responsibilities of the different groups within the community -Wrote: The Tenth Muse, Lately Sprung Up in America (A collection of poems written on philosophical subjects) “If ever two were one, then surely we if ever man were loved by wife then thee”
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Cotton Mather
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Colonial literature (1663-1728) – One of Boston’s most prolific writer – last of the “pure” puritans – Went to Harvard at the age of 10 and one of the most brilliant students in Harvard’s history -Intense interest in science – He was a minister bc he was an intellectual – Stuttered so he always lived in his father’s shadow -Wonders of and invisible world: Campaigned tirelessly to convince New England that witchcraft was a real and present danger affecting the wellbeing of the community. (spectral evidence) -Wrote: Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcraft -Wrote: Bonifacius: An essay of good
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Samuel Seawall
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-Colonial Literature -(1652-1730) -Boston puritan who devoted his life to god and commerce -Published America’s first antislavery tract -Stood all his life on the side of human justice -Against slavery and mistreament of Indians and the rights of black. -stands out among the puritans as one of the most lovable and humane. -The only judge in the Salem Witch Trials to confess publicly that he had been wrong in condemning witches. -Wrote journals and The Selling of Joseph
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William Byrd II
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Colonial Literature (1674-1744) – a Cavalier poet who came to the new world on orders from King George). -Best known Southern colonial writer -Wrote about his swamp journeys separating the Carolinian territories from Virginia and Maryland. -Wrote: A History of the Dividing Line -He, like other southern cavaliers, was given grants to pursue business ventures.
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*JONATHAN EDWARDS
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– Was one of the most brilliant American thinkers -Theologian and philosopher – Defender of Calvinistic orthodoxy at the end of the Puritan era in New England – Was the last of the great Calvinistic clergymen. -Studied at Yale. -Sermon, syllogisms, tight arguments Wrote: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and “Personal Narrative” Influenced writers such as Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman
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Pilgrams vs. Puritans
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-Neither believed in total separation of church and states -Calvinism -Predestination -Original sin -New world is a haven for religious freedom Pilgrims: Separatists Small group that settled in Plymouth (1620) Puritans Large group (20,000) that settled in Boston and Salem (1630) More wealth and better educated More worldly, brightly colored clothing, drank better/party more than pilgrims
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“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
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Jonathan Edwards – described man’s corruption and God’s justice.
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“Personal Narrative”
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Jonathan Edwards – describes spiritual development in the idea that God in his infinite power permeates every part of the universe
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A Model of Christian Charity
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Sermon by John Winthrop
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The Tenth Muse
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(A collection of poems written on philosophical subjects) By Anne Bradstreet
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Lately Sprung Up in America
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(A collection of poems written on philosophical subjects) By Anne Bradstreet
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The Mayflower Compact
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Relates the hardships of crossing the Atlantic in such a tiny vessel, the misery of the first winter, approaches of the american indians, and establishment of Bay Colony Mass Written by William Bradford
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A History of the Dividing Line
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Written by William Byrd He lead an expedition to survey the Great Dismal Swamp between Virginia and North Carolina
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Important dates
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Colonial America Time Period 1: 1607 to 1650 (Founding the first Colonies) Colonial America Time Period 2: 1650 to 1696 (Trade & History of the first colonists) Colonial America Time Period 3: 1702 to 1750 (French and Indian Wars)