By Douglas Anderson
An entire diversity of yankee writers have taken with photographs of family, household advantage, and the female or feminized hero. this crucial new booklet examines the endurance and adaptability of such issues within the paintings of vintage writers from Ann Bradstreet via Jefferson and Franklin to Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. with out minimizing the diversities that divide those figures, Anderson exhibits the level to which, of their numerous conditions, they have been all dedicated to a standard enterprise--a social and cultural reconstruction in keeping with the family values of the precise deepest family.
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Extra info for A House Undivided: Domesticity and Community in American Literature
Like Emily Dickinson, Bradstreet assembled private books of her poetry, but unlike Dickinson, she had clearly in mind an ultimate purpose for them, as she indicates in the six lines with which she prefaced the brief spiritual autobiography that she wrote for her children: This book by any yet unread, I leave for you when I am dead, That being gone, here you may find What was your living mother's mind. Make use of what I leave in love, And God shall bless you from above. (240) These are characteristically simple couplets.
Thou dy for mee! What am I dead in thee; What, did Deaths arrow shot at me thee hit? Didst slip between that flying shaft and mee? Didst make thyselfe Deaths marke shot at for me? So that her Shaft shall fly no far than thee? , Thou, my Lord, thou king of Saints, here mak'st A royall Banquet, thine to entertain With rich and royall fare, Celestiall Cates, And sittest at the Table rich of fame. Am I bid to this Feast? Sure Angells stare, Such rugged looks, and Ragged robes I ware. 62) Who is the Object of this Love?
His lengthy and spirited reply to Buffon's theories of natural degeneracy in the New World is a counterattack of its own peculiar sort in the civilized wars of science. His bitterly concise definition of the term "tory" at the beginning of Query 16 - "a traitor in thought, but not in deed" (281) - is a reminder of how immediate and how intense the passions of the Revolution remain in Jefferson's text. On one remarkable occasion even the landscape becomes a symbolic vocabulary for political events.