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Literature and Criticism / American Studies

 

American Puritanism and the Defense of Mourning
Religion, Grief, and Ethnology in Mary White Rowlandson's Captivity Narrative
Mitchell R. Breitwieser



Mary White Rowlandson, a New England Congregationalist minister's wife, was held captive by the Algonquin Indians during King Philip's War in 1676. Several years after she was ransomed and living among the British again she wrote a narrative of the captivity chronicling her experience in grief, love, resentment, and ethnic trauma. Breitwieser argues that this narrative undercuts the Puritan values Rowlandson attempted to uphold. He reveals where and how Rowlandson breaks with Puritan conventions. He points out that in American Puritan religious practice, real experiences were seen as siogns or emblems of moral abstractions. American Puritanism and the Defense of Mourning will be essential reading for all who study early American literature and culture.

Mitchell R. Breitwieser
is associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

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November 1990
LC: 90-050080 E
224 p
p.   6 x 9
ISBN-10: 0-299-12654-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-12654-4
Paper $18.95 s

The 1990 cloth edition of this book is out of print, but the paperback is still available.


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