Ann Bradstreet • Edward Taylor • Mary Rowlandson A Comparative View
Bradstreet 1612-1672"Burning Of Our House” 1666 • variations in rhythm, syntax, end-rhyme to signify rhetorical effect or emphasis • metaphysical conceits (as opposed to a Petrarchan conceit): A conceit is a figure of speech which makes an unusual and sometimes elaborately sustained comparison between two dissimilar things. • A metaphysical conceit draws upon a wide range of knowledge, from the commonplace to the esoteric, and its comparisons are elaborately rationalized. • irony • the use of the maternal domestic role as a source of authority • self-exploration through historic and mythic heroines • the use of irony to allow her to say what could not otherwise be said openly • self-effacing apologies • pride in her own ability to instruct and experience life
Taylor 1642-1729"Huswifery” 1682 • an awareness that his spiritual salvation and poetic imagination are dependent on one another. (Compare to Bradstreet’s “Prologue”) • discuss his use of extended metaphor v. Bradstreet's use of conceit • the use of metaphysical conceit make him comparable to the English Metaphysical Poets John Donne and Andrew Marvel (16th c.) • struggle for poetical inspiration and his struggle for authority • balance of didactic content and creative content • conservative style, Harvard minister, working in traditional forms • Ultimately, what is the purpose of his poetry? How entertaining is it in comarison to Rowlandson’s narrative? What might be the intended audience? The intended effect?
Rowlandson 1636-1711"Narrative of Captivity" 1682 • What problems exist in regarding a literary narrative as an historical record? Do you feel this is a result of the literal authority given the bible by Puritan society? Or, rather, is it a result of propaganda to win European interest in the colonial project? • What narrative conventions does Rowlandson story follow, what conventions does it not? • What are your feelings about her use of biblical quotation? What about her introduction to Native American vocabulary? What is different about this didactic element from others? • What are your feelings about her reaction to loss, and the death of her own child? • Historical record or entertainment? Is the entire narrative a form of conceit? Or, how literally is it to be taken? Why, or why not? How would you describe the literary value of Rowlandson’s writing?