Godly Letters: The Literature of the American Puritans

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9780268022907: Godly Letters: The Literature of the American Puritans

In Godly Letters, Michael J. Colacurcio analyzes a treasury of works written by the first generation of seventeenth-century American Puritans. Arguing that insufficient scrutiny has been given this important oeuvre, he calls for a reevaluation of the imaginative and creative qualities of America's early literature of inspired ecclesiological experiment, one that focuses on the quality of the works as well as the demanding theology they express. Colacurcio gives a detailed, richly contextualized account of the meaning of these "godly letters" in rhetorical, theological, and political terms. From his close readings of the major texts by the first generation of Puritans—including William Bradford, Thomas Hooker, Edward Johnson, John Winthrop, Thomas Shepard, and John Cotton—he expertly illuminates qualities other studies have often overlooked. In his words, close study of the literature yields work "comprehensive, circumspect, determined subtle, energetic, relentlessly intellectual, playful in spite of their cultural prohibitions, in spite of themselves, even, they are in every way remarkable products of a culture that . . . assigned an extraordinarily high place to the life of words." Magisterial in sweep, Godly Letters is likely to stand as the definitive work on the Puritan literary achievement.  
 

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About the Author:

Michael J. Colacurcio is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Review:

“An avuncular, erudite guide to a Who’s Who of Colonial Calvinism’s most influential authors: Bradford, Shepard, Hooker, Winthrop, Cotton, and Morton among them. Colacurcio’s enthusiasm for the works is infectious, and the scope of his study demonstrates his mastery of their works. . . . Less a tightly knit argument than a leisurely stroll through the sensory pleasures of close reading, this book makes a persuasive case for the riches of what can now be legitimately designated ‘Puritan literature.’” —Choice
  

“That Godly Letters is a major, remarkable, and extraordinary achievement of intellectual and literary criticism is utterly undeniable; anyone who turns to Puritan literary materials will find Godly Letters indispensable.” —Christianity and Literature

“[Godly Letters] demonstrates throughout a grasp of Puritan theology and psychology both scholarly and empathetic. It is a book full of diligence, perception and even passion.” —Modern Philology

“Limiting himself to the ‘big books’ of New England’s founding generation—works of history, cycles of sermons, and autobiographical literature from William Bradford to Roger Williams—Colacurcio nevertheless provides new and often surprising insights to these texts. . . . [A] rich and rewarding work by a scholar whose interpretative instincts and sensitivity to Puritan theological and aesthetic nuance is unrivaled.” —Calvin Theological Journal

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Book Description University of Notre Dame Press, United States, 2006. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In Godly Letters , Michael J. Colacurcio analyzes a treasury of works written by the first generation of seventeenth-century American Puritans. Arguing that insufficient scrutiny has been given to this important oeuvre, he calls for a reevaluation of the imaginative and creative qualities of America s early literature of inspired ecclesiological experiment, one that focuses on the quality of the works as well as the demanding theology they express. Colacurcio gives a detailed, richly contextualized account of the meaning of these godly letters in rhetorical, theological, and political terms. From his close readings of the major texts by the first generation of Puritans - including William Bradford, Thomas Hooker, Edward Johnson, John Winthrop, Thomas Shepard, and John Cotton - he expertly illuminates qualities other studies have often overlooked. In his words, close study of the literature yields work comprehensive, circumspect, determined, subtle, energetic, relentlessly intellectual, playful in spite of their cultural prohibitions, in spite of themselves.[T]hey are in every way remarkable products of a culture that.assigned an extraordinarily high place to the life of words. Magisterial in sweep, Godly Letters is likely to stand as the definitive work on the Puritan literary achievement. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780268022907

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Book Description University of Notre Dame Press, United States, 2006. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In Godly Letters , Michael J. Colacurcio analyzes a treasury of works written by the first generation of seventeenth-century American Puritans. Arguing that insufficient scrutiny has been given to this important oeuvre, he calls for a reevaluation of the imaginative and creative qualities of America s early literature of inspired ecclesiological experiment, one that focuses on the quality of the works as well as the demanding theology they express. Colacurcio gives a detailed, richly contextualized account of the meaning of these godly letters in rhetorical, theological, and political terms. From his close readings of the major texts by the first generation of Puritans - including William Bradford, Thomas Hooker, Edward Johnson, John Winthrop, Thomas Shepard, and John Cotton - he expertly illuminates qualities other studies have often overlooked. In his words, close study of the literature yields work comprehensive, circumspect, determined, subtle, energetic, relentlessly intellectual, playful in spite of their cultural prohibitions, in spite of themselves.[T]hey are in every way remarkable products of a culture that.assigned an extraordinarily high place to the life of words. Magisterial in sweep, Godly Letters is likely to stand as the definitive work on the Puritan literary achievement. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780268022907

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