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American Literature & Composition

Author Study: Early & Colonial Americans


Name: Sarah Winter

Using the table below, complete the blank areas for each of the 5 authors. Each area has
points assigned to it. Some have been completed for you as samples and to give you a
head start. Be sure to complete all areas. You should make sure you can view the
comments in the margins using the Review Pane/Tab. This is a rather lengthy 400 point
assignment, but well worth the study.

Authors 3-5 are your choice and the author suggestions as well as web resources are
available at the end of this document. Pace yourself and return this to the dropbox by
October 10. Contact me as soon as possible with any questions.

Author/ Information Poi


Works nts
Info
Author 1 Anne Bradstreet
Biographic Born in Northampton, England, in the year 1612, she was the daughter 10
al of Thomas Dudley and Dorothy Yorke. Her father had been a leader of
Informatio volunteer soldiers in the English Reformation and Elizabethan
n Settlement, and following that was a steward to the Earl of Lincoln;
Dorothy was a gentlewoman of noble heritage and she was also well
educated.
When she was 16 years old, Anne was married to Simon Bradstreet, a
25 year old assistant in the Massachusetts Bay Company and the son of
a Puritan minister. The Dudleys had been caring for Simon since the
death of his father.
Anne and her family came to America in 1630 on the Arabella, one of
the first ships to bring Puritans to New England in hopes of setting up
plantation colonies. The journey was difficult; many withered away
during the three month journey, unable to cope with the harsh climate
and poor living conditions, as sea squalls rocked the vessel, and scurvy
brought on by malnutrition claimed their lives. Anne, who was a well
educated girl, tutored in history, several languages and literature, was
ill prepared for such rigorous travel, and would find the journey very
difficult. Although the mother of eight children, she found time to write
over seven thousand lines of verse in what must have been, to her,
especially unfriendly surroundings. Anne Bradstreet's health was slowly
failing; she had been through many sicknesses, and was now suffering
from tuberculosis. Shortly after getting the disease, she lost her
daughter Dorothy to illness too, but her will was strong, and perhaps, as
a reflection of her own acceptance of death, she found solace in
thinking of her daughter in a better place. Soon Anne Bradstreet's long
and difficult battle with illness would be at an end, and she passed away
on September 16, 1672, in Andover, Massachusetts, at the age 60.
Primary 1. Bartleby.com, "IX. The Beginnings of Verse, 1610–1808: Anne 6
sources (at Bradstreet." The Cambridge History of English and American
least 3 in Literature in 18 Volumes. Bartleby.com. 15 Sep 2008
MLA http://www.bartleby.com/225/0905.html.
Author/ Information Poi
Works nts
Info
format) http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/Bradstreet/bradbio.htm.
2. "Selected Poetry of Anne Bradstreet." Representative Poetry
Online. Department of English University of Toronto. 12 Sep 2008
http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poet/27.html.
3. Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 1: Anne Bradstreet." PAL: Perspectives
in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. 19 Sep
2008
http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap1/bradstreet.html.
4. VanSpanckeren, Kathryn. "Chapter 1: Early American and Colonial
Period to 1776." Outline of American Literature Revised Edition. Dec
2008. U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International
Information Programs. 8 Sep 2008
http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/oal/oaltoc.htm.
5. Woodlief, Anne. "Biography of Anne Bradstreet." Anne Bradstreet.
Virginia Commonwealth University. 5 Sep 2008
Prominent My Dear and Loving Husband 1
Piece of
Literature
1
Summar "To My Dear and Loving Husband" is a pretty simple love poem that still 10
y expresses strong emotion. But sometimes the expression of personal
emotion in a poem can be the most convincing when the poem itself is
formal. In Anne Bradstreet's poem, the personal address to her husband
is framed by a set of logical propositions which almost make us feel we
are listening to a schoolteacher in front of a blackboard, or maybe a
preacher. The poem begins by using "if / then" statements to set up
categories: if two people can really be as one, then we certainly belong
in that category. She repeats the formula three times, and by the third
time she doesn't even have to say "then" -- we already know what's
coming.     
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/Bradstreet/bradhyp.htm 2
How This writing demonstrates pride in the ability to instruct and experience 10
does the life. I also noticed bold assertion followed by retraction. This aspect
writing makes the poem very balanced. It seems that there is a strong
fit with attatchment to nature and that she is even questioning God, which is
the pretty controversial. Religion was a very huge part of their culture.
prevailin Questioning or going against religion in any way could result in
g banishment or even death. Women were expected to have complete
thinking devotion to their husbands just like Anne had for her husband, Simon
and Bradstreet, and she wasn't afraid to express her love for him. Its notable
culture because it is very beautiful yet traditional wording.
of the
time?
Why is it
notable?
Prominent The Author to Her Book 1
Piece of
Author/ Information Poi
Works nts
Info
Literature
2
Summar The Author to Her Book is about judgment, criticism, and disapproval of 10
y her work without knowing what its about or what its meaning is. She felt
her work wasnt good enough to be seen by others eyes. Anne didn't
write these poems in an interest to make money that by having her
work published, she simply enjoyed writing. She never wanted her work
to be published, it was against her will by "friends, less wise than true."
It seems that she was unhappy with how her work turned out, no matter
how many times she revised and edited it. Anne is referring to her
works as though they are her children. It almost seems that she is
embarrassed with lines like "At thy return my blushing was not small."
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/208.html 2
How In America and England during the early 1600's, it was uncommon for 10
does the women to compose original pieces of writing. I think it was pretty
writing courageous of Anne to express embarrassment in her poetry. Most
fit with poets take pride in their work so its notable that Anne is slightly
the ashamed. Although she probably never intended on publishing this
prevailin poem, since it was published by her brother-in law without her
g permission. The opening metaphor she uses is pretty cool, comparing
thinking her works to her children. Obviously no male writers could use this
and metaphor. This writing was very refreshing because when Bradstreet
culture composed these poems she composed them with the intentions that
of the they would remain private forever. As a result of this, some of the
time? poems are pretty controversial.
Why is it
notable?
Prominent Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th, 1666 1
Piece of
Literature
3
Summar This poem is a reflection of Anne's feelings when she is awaken in the 10
y middle of the night to hear a dreadful word: fire.     
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/218.html 2
How This writing fits with the prevailing thinking and culture of the time 10
does the because fires were far more common when houses were made not by
writing professionals but by their own residents, as was common practice
fit with during that time period. I think this poem is notable because it
the expresses powerful emotions: sorrow, grief, and loss.      
prevailin
g
thinking
and
culture
of the
time?
Author/ Information Poi
Works nts
Info
Why is it
notable?
Author 2 Jonathan Edwards
Biographic Born on October 5th 1703, Jonathan Edwards is perhaps the deepest 10
al theological mind ever nutrured in America. He is considered the leader
Informatio of the Great Awakening in New England which holds great historical
n significance. His work as a whole is an expression of two themes. These
themes are the absolute sovereignty of God and the beauty of God's
holiness. He was the only son of the eleven children in his family. When
he was only 13 years old he attended Yale where he studied Newton
and Locke and began writing “Notes on the Mind” and “Notes on Natural
Science.”He died from complications arising from a smallpox inoculation
on March 22, 1758
Primary 1. William, Wainwright"Jonathan Edwards." Standford Encyclopedia 6
sources (at of Philosophy. Sept 23, 2008. Stanford. 7 Oct 2008
least 3 in <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/edwards/>.
MLA 2. Reed, Holly. "Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)." Boston
format) Collaborative Encyclopedia. 2004. The Boston Collaborative
Encyclopedia of Modern Western Theology. 7 Oct 2008
<http://people.bu.edu/wwildman/WeirdWildWeb/courses/mwt/dict
ionary/mwt_themes_420_edwards.htm>.
3. Campell, D.. "Jonathan Edwards." WSU. WSU. 7 Oct 2008
<http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/edwards.htm>.
Prominent Personal Narrative 1
Piece of
Literature
1
Summar Written in 1740, this was an account of all Jonathan's religious 10
y experiences. He uses details from his Diary to reconstruct his activities,
thoughts, and spiritual states from the course of his life. He skips a lot
of his juvenile religious experiences but describes in depth his more
mature years. The Personal Narrative was clearly a hit as it sold in the
hundreds of thousands.
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source http://edwards.yale.edu/gedownload!/Personal%20Narrative%20- 2
%20Selections.doc?item_id=6106130&version_id=6855124
Note: The questions here are for consideration and do not have to be
answered for this assignment.
How He hits on major themes such as God’s glory, excellency, and beauty, 10
does the and the depth of his own sins. So many people looked up to Jonathan
writing Edwards because he was the leader of the Great Awakening. The Great
fit with Awakening was a movement rooted in spiritual growth which brought a
the national identity to Colonial America. The revivalism that Jonathan
prevailin started taught people that they could be bold when confronting
g religious authority, and that when churches weren't living up to the
thinking believers' expectations, the people could break off and form new ones.
and His writing was very notable because it provided colonists, who admired
culture Jonathan very much, with a look into his perspectives and a little bit of
Author/ Information Poi
Works nts
Info
of the his religious knowledge.
time?
Why is it
notable?
Prominent Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God 1
Piece of
Literature
2
Summar Jonathan Edwards wrote this sermon about salvation. He notes that 10
y 'There is nothing that keeps wicked men, at any moment, out of hell,
but the mere pleasure of God.' He is saying that everyone already is
sentenced to hell, but God doesn't get pleasure from sending them
there, and is willing to forgive them if they lead a devout christian
lifestyle.The purpose of this sermon influence more people to go to
church. At the time Puritan churches were sagging under the weight of
two burdens: their elaborate theological doctrines and their
compromising efforts to liberalize membership requirements.
Churghgoers increasingly complained about the "dead dogs" who
droned out tedious, overerudite sermons from Puritan pulpits.
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source • Download and Read the Introduction first 2
http://edwards.yale.edu/gedownload!/Sinners%20-
%20Introduction.doc?item_id=6107110&version_id=6855129
• Download and Read the text
http://edwards.yale.edu/gedownload!/Sinners%20-%20Full
%20Text.doc?item_id=6107114&version_id=6855131
How This sermon exemplifies a common theme among Puritan sermons: 10
does the fear. Puritan ministers often told their congregations that God is not
writing looking to save them, but that they must save themselves by praising
fit with God, or else be forever condemned to hell. Edwards proclaimed with
the burning righteousness, the foolishness of believing in salvation through
prevailin good works and affirmed the need for complete dependence on God's
g grace. His sermons were very passionate and detailed the landscape of
thinking hell as well as the eternal torments of the damned. Edwards belived
and that hell was "paved with skulls of unbaptized children." His stark
culture doctrines, like the famous Sinners in the Hands of God, sparked a
of the warmly sympathetic reaction among his parishioners in 1734.
time? Jonathan's writings, this sermon in particular, were exactly what
Why is it sparked the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening is very notable.
notable?
Author 3 Richard Baxter
Biographic Richard Baxter was born in Shropshire in 1615. He was ordained a priest 10
al in 1638, but then became a Puritan in 1640. He was far more
Informatio compassionate then many of his contemporaries, and wrote with a more
n humanitarian attitude in comparison with the popular God-fearing
sermons and poems of his peers. Also ,unlike most Puritain writers, he is
not focused on fearing God and brimfire and eternal damnation, but
wrote essays giving people advice on how to cope with everyday issues
Author/ Information Poi
Works nts
Info
many of them dealing with God, but also how to cope with death, how
to have a sucessful marriage and how to cope with 'melancholy' (what
we now call depression).
Primary 1. Lee Gatiss, "The Autobiography of a "Meer Christian": Richard 6
sources (at Baxter's Account of the Restoration' unknown copyright date, 8
least 3 in Oct. 2008
MLA <http://www.theologian.org.uk/churchhistory/baxterianae.html> 
format)     
2. Unlisted author, "Richard Baxter, Pastor and Writer" unknown
copyright date, 8 Oct. 2008
<elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/06/15b.html >     
3. Lee Gatiss, "The Tragedy of 1662: The Ejection and Persecution
of the Puritans" unknown copyright date, 8 Oct. 2008
<http://www.latimertrust.org/ls66.htm     
Prominent Directions for a Peaceful Death 1
Piece of
Literature
1
Summar Richard Baxter begins this wonderful essay by stating that comfort is 10
y very important; not only does it please us, but also strengthens us. This
is his justification for writing an essay comforting the sick and dying. He
proceeds to list 18 'directs' (a term I have never heard of but I'm
guessing means steps in directions) to have a peaceful death. Many of
the directs are about making peace with God. My personal favorite is
the last direct: 'Direct. XVIII. Be fortified against all the temptations of
Satan by which he uses to assault men in their extremity: stand it out in
the last conflict, and the crown is yours.' I think this direct exemplifies
Baxter's message of strength in everyday life and spiritual strength. It
also is a very encouraging line, telling people to remain moral and
decent people to retain their dignity before dying
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source 2
How       10
does the
writing
fit with
the
prevailin
g
thinking
and
culture
of the
time?
Why is it
notable?
Prominent       1
Piece of
Author/ Information Poi
Works nts
Info
Literature
2
Summar       10
y
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source       2
How       10
does the
writing
fit with
the
prevailin
g
thinking
and
culture
of the
time?
Why is it
notable?
Prominent       1
Piece of
Literature
3
Summar       10
y
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source 2
How       10
does the
writing
fit with
the
prevailin
g
thinking
and
culture
of the
time?
Why is it
notable?
Author 4      
Biographic       10
al
Informatio
n
Author/ Information Poi
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Info
Primary 1.       6
sources (at 2.      
least 3 in 3.      
MLA
format)
Prominent       1
Piece of
Literature
1
Summar       10
y
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source 2
How       10
does the
writing
fit with
the
prevailin
g
thinking
and
culture
of the
time?
Why is it
notable?
Prominent       1
Piece of
Literature
2
Summar       10
y
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source       2
How       10
does the
writing
fit with
the
prevailin
g
thinking
and
culture
of the
time?
Why is it
Author/ Information Poi
Works nts
Info
notable?
Author 5      
Biographic      
al
Informatio
n
Primary 1.      
sources (at 2.      
least 3 in 3.      
MLA
format)
Prominent       1
Piece of
Literature
1
Summar       10
y
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source       2
How       10
does the
writing
fit with
the
prevailin
g
thinking
and
culture
of the
time?
Why is it
notable?
Prominent       1
Piece of
Literature
2
Summar       10
y
Genre Essay; Fiction: Novel; Fiction: Short Story; Historical Document; 1
Journal; Lyric/Song; Play/Screenplay; Poetry; Speech/Spoken
Source       2
How       10
does the
writing
fit with
Author/ Information Poi
Works nts
Info
g
thinking
and
culture
of the
time?
Why is it
notable?
Thoughts and Reflections
Why did       8
you pick
these
authors?
What do       20
they have
in
common?
What do       20
you like
and dislike
about their
works?
Why?
References
These references are suggested sites to get you started on your studies. You are welcome
to use more and unless you can verify the academic authenticity of a .com or .org site, I
suggest you stick to the .edu sites.

Possible Authors for Study


• Powhatan (1550?-1618)
• Captain John Smith (1580-1631)
• John Winthrop (1588-1649)
• William Bradford (1588?-1657)
• Edward Winslow (1595-1655)
• Anne Bradstreet (1612?-1672)
• Michael Wigglesworth (1631-1705)
• Mary Rowlandson (1637?-1711?)
• Increase Mather (1639-1723)
• Edward Taylor (1642?-1729)
• William Penn (1644-1718)
• Cotton Mather (1663-1728)
• Sarah Kemble Knight (1666-1727)
• William Byrd II (1674-1744)
• Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
• Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
• Phyllis Wheatley (1754?-1826)

Web References
• Citation machine for Web Documents
o http://citationmachine.net/index.php?
reqstyleid=1&reqsrcid=14&mode=form&more=&source_title=Web
%20Document&stylename=MLA
• Department of English at the University of Toronto
o http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/display/indexpoet.html
• Early American Writing on Google Books
o http://books.google.com/books?
id=OlphD37HAY4C&pg=PR35&lpg=PR35&dq=%22Early+American+Writers
%22&source=web&ots=g1rWXnaP5M&sig=nACdGAy70coGqz2l4RNIFE5MJwA
&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=8&ct=result#PPR12,M1
• Google Books
• Outline of American Literature on the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of
International Information Programs
o http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/oal/oaltoc.htm
• Perspectives in American Literature at California State University, Stanislaus
o http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/home.html
• Project Gutenberg
• The Cambridge History of English and American Literature on Bartleby.com
o http://www.bartleby.com/225/index.html
• University of Virginia Library Scholars' Lab
o http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/scholarslab/
• Webtexts on Virginia Commonwealth University
o http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/