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Printing, Captivity Narratives, and the Puritan Literary Marketplace


Printing, Captivity Narratives, and the Puritan Literary Marketplace English 441 Dr. Roggenkamp – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Printing, Captivity Narratives, and the Puritan Literary Marketplace

Printing, Captivity Narratives, and the Puritan
Literary Marketplace
  • English 441
  • Dr. Roggenkamp

Why is history of printing technology and
publishing important?
  • Age of print coincides with era of discovery,
    exploration, settlement of New World
  • Print a major factor in publicizing New World
    forming perceptions (stories) about it
  • Official history is printed historystory of
  • Image Cristofor Co lombo, De insulis in
    mari Indico nuper inventis, 1494.

Where did books come from in British North
  • At first, imported only
  • Phenomenally expensive
  • Printing technology even more expensive
  • First printing press in North America Mexico
  • But first English press not until 1638
    Cambridge, Mass (Harvard U)
  • FYI First surviving publication The Bay Psalm
    Book, 1640
  • Image Whole Books of Psalmes, Cambridge,
    Mass, 1640

Why is the literature of British North America
all about religion?
  • First 25 years of American literature
    (American-printed) hymnals, religious primers,
    theologies, sermons, almanacs
  • Next press in America not until 1685 in
  • Boston most bookish of Colonial cities through
  • Seat of American literaturesets pace for what is
    printed in America and what people in America
    read until mid-nineteenth century

1660s A First Literary Boom
  • New kind of literary marketplace starts to
    develop 1660s
  • First best-sellers in America
  • Prices start to come down slightly
  • Genres captivity narratives, sensational and
    vivid jeremiadsboth the result of and a
    contributor to new popular marketplace

First 50 Years of American Best-Sellers
  • Over 1000 copies sold
  • 1662 The Day of Doom (Wigglesworth)
  • 1664 A Call to the Unconverted
  • 1665 A Practice to Piety
  • 1679 A Guide to Heaven
  • 1681 The Pilgrims Progress
  • 1682 Captivity and Restoration (Rowlandson)
  • 1688 Essays (Sir Francis Bacon)
  • 1699 Gods Protecting Providence
  • 1707 Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion

Michael Wigglesworth, The Day of Doom (1662)
  • Adulterers and Whoremongers Were there,
    with all unchast There Covetous, and Revenous,
    That Riches got too fast Who us'd vile ways
    themselves to raise t estates and worldly
    wealth, Oppression by, or Knavery, By force, or
    fraud, or stealth.

  • New England Primer
  • Sermons

Indian Captivity Narratives
  • Dominated popular publications from late 17th
    century, well into 19th century
  • Initially First person, non-fictional accounts
    written by people who survived experience of
    captivity, usually English taken captive by
    Native Americans
  • Reasons revenge, ransom, replacement of lost
    tribe members
  • Around 750 captivities 1677-1750

Real-Life Endings
  • Ransomed for money
  • Traded for Indians taken captive by English
  • Escape from captors
  • Murder captors
  • Assimilation and adoption into Native culture
  • Conversion (e.g. to Catholicism)
  • Killed by captors
  • Suicide

Development of Captivity Narrative
  • Late 17th century Direct religious documents
    first person (Mary Rowlandson)
  • Early 18th century propagandistic tracts
    anti-French, anti-Catholic, anti-Indian (e.g.
    John Williams)
  • Mid to late 18th century stylized, melodramatic
    resemble newly popular sentimental novels
  • 19th century almost wholly fictionalized works
    incorporating motif of captivity
  • Appropriation in slave narratives, Native
    American narratives

Captivity Narrative Basic Formula
  • Separation Description of event leading to
  • Trials and sufferings Traveling deeper into
    wilderness, farther away from Puritan
  • Struggle between assimilation and maintaining
    separate cultural identity
  • Growth in moral and spiritual strength
  • Return to Puritan society to write account
  • Allegory of Christian salvation

Captivity and the Puritan Myth of a Chosen People
  • New Israel crossing sea to enter wilderness full
    of devils
  • Meet trials
  • Captivity gives clues to what damnation feels
  • Redemptionallegory for souls salvationa lived
    allegory of salvation
  • Captives ultimate redemption likened to
    regeneration of soul

Development of captivity narratives . . .
Rowlandson in 1682, Boston vs. England
Development of captivity narratives . . .
Rowlandson in 1773
More examples . . .
  • Panther Narrative, 1777
  • John Williams, The Redeemed Captive returning to
    Zion (1707)

More examples . . .
  • Mary Jemison Narrative, 1824
  • 1853 Captivity Narrative