English R1B

Reading & Composition: 'They did not wear such hats'; or, Puritans in the New World

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
27 Spring 2012 Trocchio, Rachel
TTh 5-6:30 223 Wheeler

Book List

Bradford, William: Of Plymouth Plantation; Conde, Maryse: I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem; Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter; Miller, Arthur: The Crucible; Miller, Perry: The American Puritans: Their Prose and Poetry; Morrison, Toni: A Mercy; Philbrick, Nathaniel: Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War; Rowlandson, Mary: The Sovereignty and Goodness of God; Vowell, Sarah: The Wordy Shipmates

Other Readings and Media

Photocopies, to be distributed in class and posted on bSpace.


Taking as its focus that group of men and women who came to New England between 1620 and 1640, this course will hone your literary capacities, particularly your expository, argumentative, and research skills. There could be no better subject for spurring us to this task than the Puritans, whose rigorous assessments of self and society offer a phenomenal, albeit neurotic, model for the kind of close reading practice we will develop across the semester. This is to say that we will attend to the Puritan’s style as much as to their content: sin and depravity, mire and salvation, work and labor, the soul and the state. Specifically, we will turn to a number of their writings – journals, personal narratives, histories, sermons (yes, sermons!) – to flesh out our vision of just what New England Puritanism was, and, as our title indicates, what it was not. And because the mythology around the Puritans so powerfully embeds American consciousness, we will also look at 19th- and 20th-century retellings of facets of Puritan experience, most notably, the infamous witchcraft trials.


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