William Bradford's Books
Of Plimmoth Plantation and the Printed Word
Widely regarded as the most important narrative of seventeenth-century New England, William Bradford's Of Plimmoth Plantation is one of the founding
documents of American literature and history. In William Bradford's Books this portrait of the religious dissenters who emigrated from the Netherlands to New England in 1620 receives perhaps its sharpest textual analysis to date—and the first since that of Samuel Eliot Morison two generations ago. Far from the gloomy elegy that many readers find, Bradford's history, argues Douglas Anderson, demonstrates remarkable ambition and subtle grace, as it contemplates the adaptive success of a small community of religious exiles. Anderson offers fresh literary and historical accounts of Bradford's accomplishment, exploring the context and the form in which the author intended his book to be read.
About the Author
Douglas Anderson is the Sterling Goodman Professor of English at the University of Georgia. He is the author of A House Undivided: Domesticity and Community in American Literature and The Radical Enlightenments of Benjamin Franklin, the latter available from Johns Hopkins.
"Meticulously researched and eloquently argued... This lovingly fashioned biography of the first American history book affirms the fundamental responsibilities of good history writing."
"The extraordinary care with which Anderson has crafted his own book can be seen as a kind of homage to its subject... William Bradford's Books is in many ways an unexpectedly rewarding read and a major contribution to early American studies. It is a text that literary critics and historians are both likely to engage with and to rely on for a long time to come and that is poised to change forever how Of Plimmoth Plantation is read and taught."
"A model of close reading based on strategies that few if any early Americanists have employed."
"A substantial analysis of the form and content of Bradford's history of Plymouth studied against the era's reading practices, publishing conventions, and scriptural interpretations... By making sense of Bradford's manuscript, Anderson brings Bradford himself closer."
"The publication of Douglas Anderson's fine book seems, well, providential, and one hopes that it finds the audience that it so richly deserves."
"Anderson himself has written a book that presents Bradford's work in equally splendid and unexpected ways, restoring complexity and immediacy to a volume that we thought we knew all along... It is a rare accomplishment to bring readers back to a text as canonical as Of Plimmouth Plantation in a new way."
"Through Anderson's rich and multifaceted portrait... the reader ultimately re-experiences the full meaning of Bradford's attempt to capture the Puritan experience in the New World."
"Rarely can a scholar so thoroughly resituate such a foundational work as William Bradford's history as Anderson does here."
"Anderson's skilled and subtle take on a classic text and its contexts reconstructs our image of Bradford's mental world. Catching the ebb tide of postmodernism, this keen work furnishes a model for future literary-historical scholarship."
|Johns Hopkins University Press|
Other Titles by Douglas Anderson
Other Titles in LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
Other Titles in Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800