Colonial Literature by 3e467Rg


									Colonial Literature
 1620 Pilgrims land at Plymouth
European Renaissance

Jamestown 1607
Major influences of the
   Expansion of trade and growth of the middle
   Agrarian revolution, decay of unions,
    development of the capitalist system
   Creation of modern nation-states
   Birth and development of the individual
   Geographic discoveries
Characterized by:

  The rebirth of learning
 Development of the concept of
  the free individual
 Throwing off of traditional
  restraints of medieval learning
  and authority
Motives for English
coming to the New World
   The assertion of British national pride and
    honor against the Spanish, French, and
   Economic Considerations
     – Colonialism was a way to relieve England
       of some social problems
   Propaganda about the New World as a
    glorious place
     – Free land, free from social ills
   Desire to start an ideal Christian society
     – “Zion on the Hill”
Before a distinctive American
Literature could be written,
three conditions had to be met:
   Colonist had to be free from their
    survival needs to have time to think
    and write
   They had to develop a sense of
    themselves as Americans
   They had to develop a way to publish
    and distribute American writing to
    American readers
Early American
Literature was

 – Stressing practical usefulness rather
   than style or beauty
Earlier colonial writing
took the form of :

 Narratives
 Descriptions
 Observations
 Reports             John Smith
 Journals and histories
    Later colonial writing the
    emphasis shifts to:

 Sermons
 Poetry

            Puritan minister breaks up farm house frolic
The Puritans
   Basic tenets of 17th century
   God’ absolute authority and
     – The scriptures as the basis of truth
       and the guide to life
   Predestination
     – The belief that through God’s decree
       certain people are destined to be
   The universal sinfulness of man
   The election and salvation of some by
    God’s grace
Characteristics of Puritan
 Strenuous and serious
 Attempts to represent life truly
 Every event represents a double
   – The event as a natural
   – The event as a significant
     message from God
Puritan Influences on American
Thought and Culture

 Emphasis on hard work
 A belief in democracy
 The drive toward affluence
 Emphasis on the value of
  education and science
 A preoccupation with guilt
 The notion of progress
Early Writing in New
   More that the southern colonies,
    the circumstances in early New
    England favored literary
    development. The Puritans had a
    determined and disciplined way
    of life.
Characteristics of the Puritan
group who settled Plymouth
Plantation and the
Massachusetts Bay Colony area:
 More compact settlements
 High degree of industry
 Disciplined enterprise
 A community conscious of
  experience and purpose
 Determined to make America
  their home
Firsts in America

   Facilities for literature were first
    provided in Massachusetts
    – First college, Harvard, 1636
    – First printing press, Cambridge,
    – First commercial press, Boston,
    – First successful newspaper, The
      Boston News--Letter, 1704
Harvard College
The Planters and the
   Two contrasting value systems

    John Winthrop     William Byrd

   Region: Virginia
   Founded: Jamestown,1607
   Literary Figures: John Smith, William
   Early Government: control by landed
   Motive: money and social position
   Culture shaped by tobacco and by the
    plantation way of life

   Region: Massachusetts
   Founded: Plymouth, 1620
   Literary Figures: William Bradford,
    Cotton Mather, Anne Bradstreet, Edward
    Taylor, Jonathan Edwards
   Early Government: Theocracy
   Motive: religious freedom
   Culture shaped by religion
Cultural Characteristics:
   Planters
    – a desire to continue the English traditions
      of landed aristocracy
    – Based on slavery
    – Economic inequality
    – Conspicuous consumption
    – Scattered population with few towns
    – Assumption that life was to be enjoyed
      (dancing, horseback riding, gambling,
    – Division into upper and lower classes
Cultural Characteristics:
   Puritans
    – A cluster of small towns
    – Much interchange of ideas
    – Rough economic equality
    – Emphasis on education and hard
    – Economy based on small trades and
      crafts, sea industry, and farming
    – Development of the town-meeting
    – Development of a majority of middle
Whipping a Quaker in

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