New England as a cultural invention; Say ""New England"" and you likely conjure up an image in the mind of your listener: the snowy woods or stone wall of a Robert Frost poem, perhaps, or that quintessential icon of the region - the idyllic white village. Such images remind us that, as Joseph Conforti notes, a region is not just a territory on the ground. It is also a place in the imagination. This ambitious work investigates New England as a cultural invention, tracing the region's changing identity across more than three centuries. Incorporating insights from history, literature, art, material culture, and geography, it shows how succeeding generations of New Englanders created and broadcast a powerful collective identity for their region through narratives about its past. Whether these stories were told in the writings of Frost or Harriet Beecher Stowe, enacted in historical pageants or at colonial revival museums, or conveyed in the pages of a geography textbook or Yankee magazine, New Englanders used them to sustain their identity, revising them as needed to respond to the shifting regional landscape.
Joseph A. Conforti is professor of American and New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. His previous books include Jonathan Edwards, Religious Tradition, and American Culture.