Errands into the Metropolis: New England Dissidents in Revolutionary London [NOOK Book]

Overview

Errands into the Metropolis offers a dramatic new interpretation of the texts and contexts of early New England literature. Jonathan Beecher Field inverts the familiar paradigm of colonization as an errand into the wilderness to demonstrate, instead, that New England was shaped and re-shaped by a series of return trips to a metropolitan London convulsed with political turmoil. In London, dissidents and their more orthodox antagonists contended for colonial power through competing narratives of their experiences ...

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Errands into the Metropolis: New England Dissidents in Revolutionary London

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Overview

Errands into the Metropolis offers a dramatic new interpretation of the texts and contexts of early New England literature. Jonathan Beecher Field inverts the familiar paradigm of colonization as an errand into the wilderness to demonstrate, instead, that New England was shaped and re-shaped by a series of return trips to a metropolitan London convulsed with political turmoil. In London, dissidents and their more orthodox antagonists contended for colonial power through competing narratives of their experiences in the New World. Dissidents showed a greater willingness to construct their narratives in terms that were legible to a metropolitan reader than did Massachusetts Bay’s apologists. As a result, representatives of a variety of marginal religious groups were able to secure a remarkable level of political autonomy, visible in the survival of Rhode Island as an independent colony.

Through chapters focusing on John Cotton, Roger Williams, Samuel Gorton, John Clarke, and the Quaker martyrs, Field traces an evolving discourse on the past, present, and future of colonial New England that revises the canon of colonial New England literature and the contours of New England history. In the broader field of early American studies, Field’s work demonstrates the benefits of an Atlantic perspective on the material cultures of print. In the context of religious freedom, Errands into the Metropolis shows Rhode Island’s famous culture of toleration emerging as a pragmatic response to the conditions of colonial life, rather than as an idealistic principle. Errands into the Metropolis offers new understanding of familiar texts and events from colonial New England, and reveals the significance of less familiar texts and events.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Errands has some interesting things to say about authorship, crossoceanic correspondence, absences and presences, and the ability to participate fully in Atlantic religion and/or networks, and how to fashion narratives in London to score victories against over mighty, Bay Colony, Puritan intrusions. . . . This book's real contribution is to show how narrative strategies refined at sea were stage-managed to link suffering and the choking of liberties in New England to old England's own troubles and tense debates.”—New England Quarterly

“Throughout Errands into the Metropolis, Field demonstrates himself to be a truly transnational and transdisciplinary scholar. His careful historical research on both sides of the Atlantic, combined with skillful literary analysis, newly illuminates the purposes of texts such as Williams’s Key and John Clarke’s Ill Newes from New England. For historians, Field’s book also makes an interesting and unexpected companion to Peter Silver’s Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America.”—Early American Literature

“A compelling interpretation on how the power of print helped clarify and shape New England politics . . . . Field’s literary approach to tumultuous colonial New England politics is refreshing and adds a new dimension to early American studies.”—Sixteenth Century Journal

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Product Details

Meet the Author

JONATHAN BEECHER FIELD is an assistant professor of English at Clemson University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
50% COTTON
Authorship, Authority, and the Atlantic
A KEY FOR THE GATE
Roger Williams, Parliament, & Providence
"A BELCHER-OUT OF ERROURS"
Samuel Gorton and the Atlantic Subject
ANTINOMIANS, ANABAPTISTS, AND AQUIDNECK
Contesting Heresy in Interregnum London
SUFFERING AND SUBSCRIBING
Configurations of Authorship in the Quaker Atlantic
Conclusion
"A Lively Experiment"
Notes
Index

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