Timely and beautifully written, New England Beyond Criticism provides a passionate defense of the importance of the literature of New England to the American literary canon, and its impact on the development of spirituality, community, and culture in America. * An exploration and defense of the prominence of New England s literary tradition within the canon of American literature * Traces the impact of the literature of New England on the development of spirituality, community, and culture in America * Includes in-depth studies of work from authors and poets such as William Bradford, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Henry David Thoreau, Susan Howe, and Marilynne Robinson * Examines the place and impression of New England literature in the nation s intellectual history and the lives of its readers
Elisa New is Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature and Language at Harvard University. She is the author of The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry (2009), Jacob s Cane: A Jewish Family s Journey From the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore (2009 and 2011), andThe Lines Eye: Poetic Experience, American Sight (1999).
Acknowledgments vii 1 Introduction: New England Beyond Criticism 1 Part I Excitations: Protestant Ups and Downs 21 2 Variety as Religious Experience: Four Case Studies: Dickinson, Edwards, Taylor, and Cotton 23 3 The Popularity of Doom: From Wigglesworth, Poe, and Stowe through The Da Vinci Code 47 4 I Take No Less than Skies : Dickinson s Flights 75 Part II Congregations: Rites of Assembly 103 5 Lost in the Woods Again: Coming Home to Wilderness in Bradford, Thoreau, Frost, and Bishop 105 6 Growing Up a Goodman: Hawthorne s Way 140 7 Shall Not Perish from the Earth : The Counting of Souls in Jewett, Du Bois, E.A. Robinson, and Frost 160 8 Disinheriting New England: Robert Lowell s Reformations 201 Part III Matriculations: In Academic Terms 225 9 Winter at the Corner of Quincy and Harvard: The Brothers James 227 10 Upon a Peak in Beinecke: The Beauty of the Book in the Poetry of Susan Howe 235 11 Balm for the Prodigal: Marilynne Robinson s Gilead 265 12 A Fable for Critics: Autobiographical Epilogue 279 Index 308