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Week 1. 1. Puritanism 2. The American Enlightenment Puritanism and Puritan Literature Due to the prosecution they suffered, large numbers of Puritans left England in search of friendlier shores. Some moved to Holland; many more crossed the Atlantic to the new continent. eputedly, the first ship to cross the ocean was the Mayflower, which landed near what is today Plymouth, !assachusetts, in "#$%. &'illiam (radford)s te*t, in your *ero* pac+et, describes this ,ourney-. .he Puritans settled far away from other (ritish colonies out of fear that Anglicans even in the new territories might harass them. As we mentioned in class, the Puritans were a peculiar group of colonists/ while English in origin, they felt different from the people in the mainland. Due to the turbulent political situation in England 00 civil war 00 and to the fact that 1romwell)s dictatorship regarded them favourably, they maintained a great degree of autonomy from the metropolis. .hey created their own laws and governing bodies and elected their own leaders. &.he two Puritan authors we are reading this wee+, 2ohn 'inthrop and 'illiam (radford, were governors elected of the cities of (oston and Plymouth respectively-. Some Puritan institutions were the General ourt of Massachusetts, a court of ,ustice created in the "#$%s shortly upon arrival, and the onfederacy of !ew England, a federation of townships formed in the "#3%s. eligion dominated completely Puritan political and social life. .hey instituted a theocracy. 1hurch authorities were often political leaders as well. An institution called the am"ridge Platform of hurch #isci$line enforced eligious orthodo*y; it was a sort of Puritan in4uisition that prosecuted heresy and slac+ religious observance. 1hurch attendance was compulsory. 5nly those considered good Puritans could own land or have full rights as citi6ens. Heretics and 7impure7 Puritans were often banished into the wilderness, unsettled territories where survival was e*tremely difficult, or were severely punished. Puritans were a very "ookish $eo$le. 8nli+e other colonists in other parts of the continent, they were interested in intellectual pursuits. .hey created Grammar %chools in every town. Early on, they founded &ar'ard ollege, which would later become Harvard 8niversity, initially a seminary where the Puritan clergy would be educated. 9n "#:;, they brought from Europe a $rinting $ress to print their own boo+s and disseminate their doctrine. &.hey had not been able to do this with complete freedom in England-. .he first two titles to come out of the (oston press were the (ay Psalm (ook, a collection of (iblical psalms <salmos=, and The !ew England Primer, <una cartilla= to teach children how to read, both from "#3%. (efore we describe the characteristics of Puritan literature, we should e*plain Puritan doctrine. Puritanism was a very strict branch of Protestantism. 9t was characterised by its moral $essimism and by a very blea+ view of e*istence. >or the Puritans the world was inherently bad, a place of e*ile from ?od, and a place of transition on the way to 7the life beyond.7 (ecause of this, all earthly pleasures were to be re,ected. Puritans went so far in this direction as to ban smo+ing, alcohol &e*cept for medical purposes-, games of cards and

bowling, and flashy clothes. .hese prohibitions would not have maintained beyond the early eighteenth century, when @ew England society started to become more and more secular. Ai+e the world, the original sin tainted human nature. Humans were naturally inclined to do evil, and a very strict moral discipline was necessary to +eep them in touch with the right &that is, the Puritan- way. E'il was a very strongly felt principle by the Puritans; evil e*isted and surrounded humans, tric+ing them, trying to ma+e them fall. The #e'il personified the evil. .he Puritans believed that the Devil was a concrete, tangible presence that intervened in human affairs and tempted people, leading them to sin and damnation. >or the Puritans, the Devil would occasionally manifest itself through the acts of humans. .hey often regarded Heretics, for e*ample, as servants of the Devil, who supposedly spo+e through them, and so were the witches and the native 9ndians, often called 7red devils.7 &'illiam (radford)s History of the Plymouth Plantation e*presses some of these notions-. Puritans also believed in $redestination. ?od already prefigured every event, even the most insignificant, since the beginning of time. .his included also, whether one would save or condemn. @aturally, the Puritans believed that most people would be condemned, which was hardly surprising given that humans were such a rotten, sinful lot. .he ?od of the Puritans was angry and revengeful, full of contempt toward a wea+, corrupt humanity. However, ?od had made a covenant <a sort of treatise= with the Puritans. He would indicate, through special signs, who were going to save and who were not. .he two main signs of salvation were good deeds and wealth. .hese ideas strongly influenced Puritan literature. )t is im$ortant to remem"er here that in the se'enteenth century the word *literature* meant something different from what it means today. Aiterature was more inclusive than it is nowadays. 9t was anything written to be read, from personal letters, to sermons and political speeches, to lyric poetry, to novels, to manuals on morality. 9t was not limited to creative writing based on invention andBor personal e*pression, as it is today. .he main functions of literature at the time were/ C to e*press +nowledge C to preserve tradition C to affirm the identity of the community. 9n the case of the Puritans, a society where everything was subordinated to religion, this meant/ C to e*press religious +nowledge &Puritan doctrineC to preserve Puritan religious tradition C to affirm and e*press the social and cultural values of the Puritan community. .he genres that best fulfilled these functions were sermons+ religious treatises+ history and "iogra$hy. Sermons and treatises e*pressed religious +nowledge and preserved tradition. 9n Puritan @ew England, the most important authors of these genres were ,ohn Winthro$ &s. DE99; you are reading one of his sermons for this class-, ,ohn otton &s. DE99-, and ,onathan Edwards &principios del s. DE999-. &istory and "iogra$hy reaffirmed the identity of the community by narrating events that affected the collectivity, or else by celebrating the lives of those who were particularly remar+able in Puritan society. An e*ample of history is William (radford)s Historie of

Plimmoth Plantation, written from the "#:%s to the "#F%s. .his wor+ details the birth, development, and eventual decline of the Plymouth colony. Gou have some e*cerpts of this wor+ in your photocopies. .he main Puritan biographer is otton Mather, whose !agnalia 1hristi Americana <or ?reat 'or+s of 1hrist in America=, published in the early eighteenth century, narrates the lives of the most distinguished theologians, politicians, and public men of @ew England. 9n addition, there was in Puritan literature an obsessive desire to e*plore whether the individual and the collectivity were living according to religious doctrine or not. .hey were an*ious to figure out their place in ?od)s plan, that is, whether they would save or condemn. .heir analysis of collective life and of the moral health of the community too+ place in the historical wor+s already mentioned. 9n addition, -ournals and auto"iogra$hies provide us with e*amples of individual self0e*amination. Eery important are the ,ournals of 2ohn 'inthrop and the autobiographies of 2onathan Edwards and .homas Shepard. >inally, the Puritans also cultivated poetry. .heir poetry, however, is not too sub,ective and personal. Poetry was not that way, as a rule, at the time. 9n addition, Puritans were concerned, in their poetry, with translating individual e*perience into religious or doctrinal terms. 'hat mattered to them was how she or he transformed the poet)s individuality and feelings into a universal moral message that could profit all, not the poetHs individuality and feelings themselves. Anne (radstreet and Edward Taylor, the latter influenced by the seventeenth0century !etaphysical poets, were the two most important Puritan poets &see 2ulian odrIgue6Hs Practical Anthology-. Something all these types of writing have in common is the constant resort to the (ible. .he (ible is the main te*t in Puritan literary history. 9t is the document where supposedly ?od left his message to the world and where ?od e*presses the divine plan. .o ma+e sure they were on the right path, Puritans constantly compared themselves to people and events narrated in the (ible. .he more their personal and collective history resembled those narrated in the (ible, the closer they were to ?od)s plan, and the more li+ely were to escape the eternal fires of hell. (iblical comparison is called Ty$ology. Alternatively, to put it differently, Puritan .ypology is the Puritans) identification of their personal and collective history with those other histories narrated in the (ible. Hence, they compare themselves to the people of 9srael, the elect people in the (ible. .hey call Puritan society in America 7a new 2erusalem,7 that is, a new 7city of ?od.7 9n turn, America is their 7@ew Jion,7 7@ew 1anaan,7 or 7@ew Promised Aand.7 .heir harsh beginnings in the new continent are described as 7a period in the wilderness,7 or, li+e !oses, 7in the desert.7 9n 1otton !ather)s !agnalia 1hristi Americana the historical figures he celebrates are nic+named 7the @ew Eli,ah,7 or 7the @ew Daniel,7 or 7@ew @ehemiah,7 and so on communities who wanted to found a @ew 2erusalem etc, etc. &'hen reading 'illiam (radfordHs e*cerpts, try to locate e*amples of .ypology/ there are several-. Puritanism starts to wane after the estoration in "##%, when the monarchy returns. (ritish +ings had been, as heads of the High Anglican church, the main prosecutors of the Puritans. .heir new policy toward the Puritans would be of 7tough tolerance7/ they were tolerated but their liberties are eroded progressively/ C .he !assachusetts 1harter <estatuto de autonomIa= was revo+ed in the "#K%s and an Anglican governor was brought from England, imposed by the Ling.

C .he Anglican 1hurch increased its presence and power in @ew England; Puritans were forced to accept other Protestant denominations in their territory. C .he colonies began to be heavily ta*ed00particularly @ew England, the least friendly to the crown. &.a*ation would become in time the main cause for the rebellion of the colonies and the creation of the 8nited States as a separate nation.5ther causes for the waning of Puritanism were internal to Puritan society/ wealth and prosperity made people less amenable to strict religious ideas. (esides, second0 and third0 generation Puritans often re,ected the religion of their ancestors and grew fond of the ideas of the Enlightenment. 8ltimately, these new ideas are the main cause for the fall of strict Puritanism. Eventually, toward the "M:%s Puritanism stopped being the dominant social and religious doctrine and main lifestyle option in @ew England. However, it did not disappear. .here were several revivals of Puritan fanaticism in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. &An important revival was 7.he ?reat Awa+ening,7 which too+ place in the "M3%s in rural @ew England, and was impelled by 2onathan Edwards)s preaching-. .he influence of Puritanism persisted, even in non0religious forms, throughout much of American culture. Puritan symbolism and allegorical way of loo+ing at the world survived in much ";th c. American writing, and even in some $%th 1. modernists. 9n addition, so did the emphasis on evil, the conception of the world as a hostile, damaging place. 9n this respect, Puritanism be4ueathed us a potent imagery, which persists in literature, film, and popular culture 00 from horror films and boo+s to some music videos. 2. The American Enlightenment .s. /0)))1 9f Puritanism dominates the DE99 1., the Enlightenment does the DE999 th 1. As is well +nown, the Enlightenment was a philosophical attitude and a cultural period characteri6ed by C A.95@AA9.G/ the primacy of reason, e*ercised through methodical thin+ing and action. C 9@.EAA9?9(9A9.G of the world/ the world could be +nown and understood through the e*ercise of reason. 9t was therefore, not the hostile, unmanageable place that Puritans claimed it was. C !A.E 9AA9S!/ Enlightenment philosophers and scientists sought to e*plain life and @A.8 E based on physical laws00not of spirits, devils and the li+e. &.his belief in material e*planations for things and the parallel idea that e*planations ta+e the forms of general laws is the basis of @ewtonian science, whose principles were formulated in the late DE99 1.C H8!A@ 9?H.S and SEA>0DE.E !9@A.95@/ A strong belief in individual rights and autonomy. 9t was believed that all people were created e4ual. .he Enlightenment 4uestions tyranny and inherited privilege. &.he idea of e4uality and the revolt against tyranny are the causes of the American 'ar of 9ndependence against the (ritish and the >rench evolution!ostly a mercantile class that had grown increasingly secular defended these ideas. .hey appear in Puritan territory &@ew England towns li+e (oston- but also in more secularised cities00such as Philadelphia and @ew Gor+00and in the Southern colonies00Eirginia. A

generation of writers, thin+ers and philosophers who come of age intellectually toward the "MF%s and "M#%s, and who were the main promoters of the cause of American 9ndependence defended these ideas. .he most important of these intellectuals are/ Thomas Paine. (orn in England; author of 1ommon Sense &"MM#-, a wor+ that ,ustified American independence from the despotic (ritish monarchy as a matter of rationality and 7common sense.7 Thomas ,efferson. "M3:0"K$#. He was a rich Southern Planter from Eirginia who became the third president of the 8S. He was influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment and 71ommon Sense7 philosophy. C He was a very practical man/ by profession, he was an agricultural engineer. He e*perimented with crop rotation, seeds, and irrigation systems. He was also interested in mechanics00in devices such as cloc+s, etc. C He was the main writer of the #eclaration of )nde$endence, the document that signalled the rebellion against the (ritish monarchy and that started the war of 9ndependence. C .his document uses the language and ideas of the Enlightenment. 9t maintains that all people are created e4ual and have some inaliena"le rights such as the right to life, to freedom, and to the pursuit of happiness. .hese rights are immutable and universal, li+e natural laws. .o secure these rights, people choose or abolish governments. .his constitutes a re,ection of despotism and arbitrary government. .he Declaration of 9ndependence is Deistic/ it appeals to a ?od, but not the punishing one of the Puritans. .his ?od is seen as an impartial ,udge. As 2efferson writes in the Declaration, the American anti0(ritish rebels 7appeal to the supreme ,udge of the world for the rectitude of our own intentions.7 9n addition to all these features of the Enlightenment, there are in the Declaration some remnants of Puritan imagery/ the 9ndians are described as savages, the slaves as potentially murderous; the (ritish +ing is 7depraved7; nature is threatening and destructive. 2efferson was also the author of occasional yet voluminous writings/ letters, ,ournals, speeches, reflections, and an autobiography written to be read privately by family and friends. .he only wor+ he published during his lifetime was @otes on the State of Eirginia &written in "MK", published in "MKM-. 9t started as an answer to a series of 4uestions about the ecology, society, vegetation, geology, etc of the state of Eirginia as+ed by the >rench ambassador in the 8nited States. 9n the @otes and in other writings 2efferson defends what became an influential &and a very utopian- view of the new nation. According to 2efferson, culture and society in the new country ought to develop according to three main principles/ A? A 9A@9S!/ .he 8S ought to be a republic of landowners. Agriculture ought to be the basis of the American economy. 9t should produce raw materials for e*port. .his was the ideal type of occupation for 2efferson. He believed that contact with the land was, in itself, beneficial. An agrarian economy was more natural00avoided pollution00and at the same time, fairer00it avoided the e*ploitation and in,ustices of the industrial system, which Europe was beginning to felt.

A second idea was >EDE AA9S!/ .he 8S ought to avoid a strong central government. As 2efferson put it &and contemporary politicians still repeat-, 7.hat government is best that governs least.7 .he ideal political structure would be a confederation of states, each more or less self0determining and autonomous. .he central government should merely coordinate among the different states. .he third idea was P 5D81E 9S!/ .he 8S should be a republic of e4ual, active, and independent citi6ens. 9t should have a productive, not speculative or parasitic economy. .here should be no one living on rents or on the wor+ of others. .here was no fulfilment of these ideals/ the 8S became industrialised, the autonomy of the different states was not always respected, and it developed a speculative, parasitic economy 00 that is, many lived on the wor+ of others. (en,amin >ran+lin. "M%#0"M;%. C He was also one of the authors of the Declaration of 9ndependence. (y profession, he was a ,ournalist, merchant, and printer. He printed the first novel published in the 8S/ ichardson)s 1larissa. &9t was P 9@.ED, not written in the 8S. @ovels were imported from Europe up until then-. >ran+lin was also a politician, a representative of the state of Pennsylvania in the 1olonies) 1ongress. His most literary wor+ was his Autobiography. C 9n it there is a mi*ture of Enlightenment notions with certain religious ideas, but these are very different ones from those of the Puritans. C >ran+lin retains from Puritanism a belief in the 7fallen7 condition of people/ all people are flawed. He is then sceptical about the 7goodness7 of the human condition. C (8. unli+e Puritans, who believed in predestination, in the inescapability of evil, and in the anger of a punishing ?od, >ran+lin believes that $eo$le can im$ro'e. HowN (y a$$lying reason and method to the management of life and of one)s character. C He then sees life as a series of $ro"lems to solve and goals to achie'e. !E.H5D, not prayer, arrives at the solutions. He proposes something li+e the a$$lication of scientific method to the management of life. .he characteristics of this method are/ . 9AABE 5 / 9n his Autobiography >ran+lin tells us how he tried different ways of doing things until he found the proper way. .a+e, for e*ample, what he did to become a better writer. 9@D81.95@/ He e*amines particular situations and from them e*tracts a general law. E*ample/ After several e*periences, he discovered that he could be more persuasive in his arguments if he was tentative and apologetic than if he firmly imposed his views. !EAS8 E!E@./ 9n order to ma+e the most of his time, he divides the day into sections devoted to different activities. (esides, toward the end of your reading, when he devices a general program for improvement, he classifies his flaws and decides to wor+ on one at a time before moving on to the ne*t one and so on. 5verall, it is a very scientific procedure.

9n general, notice that the main value of >ran+lin)s life and testimony does not lie in their personal uni4ueness. 5n the contrary, what >ran+lin wanted to offer is forms of advice of universal validity. He wrote his Autobiography as an attempt to transmit +nowledge about the world and about how to live one)s life. & emember what we said about the functions of literature in the seventeenth century. 'e can also apply it to the literature of the eighteenth0 century. 9ts functions are still the transmission of +nowledge, the preservation of tradition, and the affirmation of community.(9(A95? APHG 0Sacvan (ercovitch, The Puritan Origins of the American Self. Gale 8niversity Press, ";MF 0Sacvan (ercovitch, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature, vol. " &"F;%0"K$%-. 1ambridge 8niversity Press, ";;F 0Susan !anning, 7Aiterature and society in colonial America.7 American Literature. The New Pelican Guide to nglish Literature. Ed. (oris >ord. vol. ;. Aondon/ Penguin, ";KK, ";;$ 0Perry !iller, ed. The American Puritans! Their Prose and Poetry. @ew Gor+/ Doubleday O 1ompany, ";F#