Puritans In America

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Overview

The whole destiny of America is contained in the first Puritans who landed on these shores, wrote Tocqueville. These newcomers, and the range of their intellectual achievements and failures, are vividly depicted in The Puritans in America. 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 Alan Heimert and Andrew 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. A general introduction sketches the Puritan environment, and shorter introductions open each of the six sections of the collection. Thirty-eight writers are included--among these Cotton, Bradford, Bradstreet, Winthrop, Rowlandson, Taylor, and the Mathers--well as the testimony of Anne Hutchinson and documents illustrating the witchcraft crisis. The works, several of which are published here for the first time since the seventeenth century, are presented in modern spelling and punctuation.

Despite numerous scholarly probings, Puritanism remains resistant to categories, whether those of Perry Miller, Max Weber, or Christopher Hill. This new anthology--the first major interpretive collection in nearly fifty years--reveals the beauty and power of Puritan literature as it emerged from the pursuit of self-knowledge in the New World.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences - Charles L. Cohen
What commends this particular book are its chronological organization, its insistence that any firm generalizations about Puritans may obscure the 'human uncertainty' of their lives in America, its treatment of the movement as sensibility rather than ideology, and its focus on emotionality in the context of the past. By defining Puritanism as an affective style and them allowing us to trace that style's literary effusions over a century, Heimert and Delbanco invite us to investigate how communities organize their emotions and how time transfigures culturally prescribed feeling, a task well worth taking up. If the heart has its reason, it has its history too.
Boston Sunday Globe - Susan Monsky
This anthology pays tribute to Puritan trailblazers in political, religious and literary realms and casts them in a new and sparkling light. Lucid editorial notes and passages accompany the individual selections, the tone of which are at once friendly and scholarly.
Boston Sunday Globe

This anthology pays tribute to Puritan trailblazers in political, religious and literary realms and casts them in a new and sparkling light. Lucid editorial notes and passages accompany the individual selections, the tone of which are at once friendly and scholarly.
— Susan Monsky

Virginia Quarterly Review
By presenting Puritan sermons, reminiscences, poetry, and other writings in a chronological fashion, Heimert and Delbanco have captured the spirit of a vibrant New England, experiencing social, religious, and economic change. The editors' brief introductions to many of the selections make this volume especially attractive to students of Puritan history and literature.
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

What commends this particular book are its chronological organization, its insistence that any firm generalizations about Puritans may obscure the 'human uncertainty' of their lives in America, its treatment of the movement as sensibility rather than ideology, and its focus on emotionality in the context of the past. By defining Puritanism as an affective style and them allowing us to trace that style's literary effusions over a century, Heimert and Delbanco invite us to investigate how communities organize their emotions and how time transfigures culturally prescribed feeling, a task well worth taking up. If the heart has its reason, it has its history too.
— Charles L. Cohen

Boston Sunday Globe
This anthology pays tribute to Puritan trailblazers in political, religious and literary realms and casts them in a new and sparkling light. Lucid editorial notes and passages accompany the individual selections, the tone of which are at once friendly and scholarly.
— Susan Monsky
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
What commends this particular book are its chronological organization, its insistence that any firm generalizations about Puritans may obscure the 'human uncertainty' of their lives in America, its treatment of the movement as sensibility rather than ideology, and its focus on emotionality in the context of the past. By defining Puritanism as an affective style and them allowing us to trace that style's literary effusions over a century, Heimert and Delbanco invite us to investigate how communities organize their emotions and how time transfigures culturally prescribed feeling, a task well worth taking up. If the heart has its reason, it has its history too.
— Charles L. Cohen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674740662
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 2/22/1985
  • Pages: 460
  • Sales rank: 581,653
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Heimert is Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature, Harvard University.

Andrew Delbanco is the Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University.

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Table of Contents

PREFACE

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

A NOTE ON EDITORIAL METHOD

Introduction

PART ONE: LOOMINGS

Thomas Hooker, The Soul's Preparation for Christ (c. 1626)

John Cotton, Christ the Fountain of Life (c. 1628)

Thomas Shepard, The Sound Believer (c. 1633)

PART TWO: THE MIGRATION

Plymouth

Robert Cushman, Reasons and Considerations Touching the Lawfulness of

Removing out of England into the Parts of America (1622)

"G. Mourt," Mourt's Relation (1622)

Thomas Morton, New English Canaan (1634-1635)

William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (1630-1650)

Massachusetts Bay

William Ames, Conscience with the Power and Cases Thereof (c. 1630)

Thomas Hooker, The Danger of Desertion (1631)

John Winthrop, Reasons to Be Considered for...the Intended Plantation

in New England (1619)

John Cotton, God's Promise to His Plantations (1630)

John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity (1630)

John Cotton, Letter from New England (1634)

John Winthrop, Journal (1642)

William Hooke, New England's Tears for Old England's Fears (1640)

John Cotton, Foreword to John Norton, The Answer (1648)

Edward Johnson, Wonder-Working Providence of Sion's Savior in New England (c. 1650)

Peter Bulkeley, The Gospel-Covenant (c. 1639-1640)

PART THREE: CITY ON A HILL

The First American Poetry

Thomas Tillam, "Upon the First Sight of New England" (1638)

Anne Bradstreet, Poems and Prose (c. 1635-1670)

The Antinomian Crisis

John Cotton, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace (c. 1636)

Anne Hutchinson, The Examination of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson (1637)

John Winthrop, A Defense of an Order of Court (1637)

Henry Vane, A Brief Answer (1637)

Thomas Shepard, The Parable of the Ten Virgins (1636-1640)

Thomas Hooker, The Application of Redemption (c. 1640)

The Specter of Toleration

Nathaniel Ward, The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam (c. 1646)

Business in the Bible Commonwealth

Robert Keayne, Last Will and Testament (1653)

PART FOUR: O NEW ENGLAND!

The Cotton-Williams Debate

Roger Williams, The Bloody Tenent of Persecution (1643)

John Cotton, The Bloody Tenent, Washed and Made White in the Blood of

the Lamb (1646)

Roger Williams, Experiments of Spiritual Life and Health (c. 1650)

The Passing of the Fathers

John Norton, Abel Being Dead Yet Speaketh (c. 1655)

New England Alone

John Davenport, The Saint's Anchor-Hold (1661)

John Norton, Election Sermon: Sion the Outcast Healed of Her Wounds (1661)

The Jeremiad

Michael Wigglesworth, "God's Controversy with New England" (1662)

Increase Mather, The Mystery of Israel's Salvation (1667)

Thomas Shepard, Jr., Eye-Salve (1672)

The Revival of Piety

Mary Rowlandson, Narrative of Captivity and Restoration (c. 1677)

Solomon Stoddard, The Safety of Appearing at the Day of Judgment

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