Errands into the Metropolis: New England Dissidents in by Jonathan Beecher Field

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By Jonathan Beecher Field

This publication provides an exploration of the transatlantic personality of early-American non secular dissent. "Errands Into the city" deals a dramatic new interpretation of the texts and contexts of early New England literature. Jonathan Beecher box inverts the standard paradigm of colonization as an errand into the desolate tract to illustrate, as a substitute, that New England was once formed and reshaped through a chain of go back journeys to a metropolitan London convulsed with political turmoil. via chapters targeting John Cotton, Roger Williams, Samuel Gorton, John Clarke, and the Quaker martyrs, box strains an evolving discourse at the previous, current, and way forward for colonial New England. In available and comprehensible narratives of the recent international, those colonial dissidents have been capable of override the voices of Massachusetts Bay apologists and make their case successfully to Londoners in arguing for colonial autonomy.

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Extra info for Errands into the Metropolis: New England Dissidents in Revolutionary London

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Beyond extending one argument in space and another in time, this nexus raises some significant questions for scholars interested seventeenth-century New England. indd 12 5/8/09 10:29:42 PM Introduction 13 England Mind. Overwhelmingly, these are arguments made from books, and books composed on one side of the Atlantic and published on the other. As we will see in the case of John Cotton, and as was true of his fellow clergy, authorship for New England divines was a complicated business. Recognizing that the texts available for the study of New England clergy are products of a vexed and contingent material process enriches our understanding of this culture at large, but also suggests the challenges facing the intellectual historian working in this field.

As Loughran demonstrates, disseminating the print that is the substance of print culture posed a variety of actual, physical challenges in a sprawling continental space like North America, rather than in a concentrated metropolitan space like London. 19 His journey is as fraught and picaresque as the more familiar journey of Madam Knight a few decades earlier, but seeing these experiences mediated through the narrative of a postal agent emphasizes the “noncorrespondence and nonsimultaneity” characterizing textual circulation in the early United States.

18 However, John Winthrop commented in his Journal that “Mr. indd 22 5/8/09 10:29:45 PM 50% Cotton 23 a great wrong to Mr. ” 19 Recognizing this irregularity does not erase Cotton’s contributions as a theologian—indeed, the number of his sermons that were published from parishioners’ notes is a tribute to his influence and charisma, while posthumous publication is a measure of the strength of his legacy. In the culture of revolutionary London, however, it does diminish his authority as an author.

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