A Companion to the Literatures of Colonial America
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A Companion to the Literatures of Colonial America

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This broad introduction to Colonial American literatures brings out the comparative and transatlantic nature of the writing of this period and highlights the interactions between native, non-scribal groups, and Europeans that helped to shape early American writing. It situates the writing of this period in its various historical and cultural contexts, including colonialism, imperialism, diaspora, and nation formation. It highlights interactions between native, non-scribal groups and Europeans during the early centuries of exploration. It covers a wide range of approaches to defining and reading early American writing. It looks at the development of regional spheres of influence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It serves as a vital adjunct to Castillo and Schweitzer's "The Literatures of Colonial America: An Anthology" (Blackwell Publishing, 2001).
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Product details

  • Hardback | 628 pages
  • 187 x 262 x 39mm | 1,396g
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Chicester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1405112913
  • 9781405112918

Back cover copy

Consisting of more than 30 original essays by leading scholars in the field, this Companion provides a broad introduction to Colonial American literatures. The volume situates texts in their various historical and cultural contexts, including colonialism, imperialism, diaspora, and nation formation. In particular, it brings out the comparative, hemispheric and transatlantic nature of the writing of this period, and highlights the interactions between non-scribal native groups and Europeans that helped to shape early American writing.


The Companion is divided into four main sections: the opening section on issues and methods covers a wide range of approaches to defining and reading early American writing; the second section, entitled "New World Encounters", considers the interactions between cultural groups during the early centuries of exploration; the third section on identities looks at the development of regional spheres of influence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; while the final section considers major genres and writers of the period in a series of "Cross-Cultural Conversations".

The Companion is designed to be used alongside Castillo and Schweitzer's The Literatures of Colonial America: An Anthology (Blackwell Publishing, 2001).
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Table of contents

List of Figures. Notes on Contributors. Part 1. Issues and Methods. 1. Prologomenal Thinking: Some Possibilities and Limits of Comparative Desire (Teresa A. Toulouse). 2. First Peoples: An introduction to Early Native American Studies (Joanna Brooks). 3. Toward a Cultural Geography of Colonial American Literature: Empire, location, Creolization (Ralph Bauer). 4. Textual Investments: Economics and Colonial American Literatures (Michelle Burnham). 5. The Culture of Colonial America: Theology and Aesthetics (Paul Giles). 6. Teaching the Text of Early American Literature (Michael P. Clark). 7. Teaching with the New Technology: Three Intriguing Opportunities (Edward J. Gallagher). Part II. New World Encounters. 8. Recovering Precolonial American Literary History: "The Origin of Stories" and the Popol Vuh (Timothy B. Powell). 9. Toltec Mirrors: European and Native Americans in Each Other's Eyes (Renee Bergland). 10. Reading for Indian Resistance (Bethany Ridgway Schneider). 11. Refocusing New Spain and Spanish Colonization: Malinche, Guadalupe, and Sor Juana (Electa Arenal and Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel). 12. British Colonial Expansion Westwards: Ireland and America (Andrew Hadfield). 13. The French Relation and its "Hidden" Colonial History (Sara E. Melzer). 14. Visions of the Other in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Writing on Brazil (Elena Losada Soler). 15. New World Ethnography, the Caribbean, and Behn's Oroonoko (Derek Hughes). Part III. Negotiating Identities. 16. Gendered Voices from Lima and Mexico: Clarinda, Amarilis, and Sor Juana (Raquel Chang-Radriguez). 17. Cleansing Mexican Antiquity: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and the loa to The Divine narcissus (Viviana Diaz Balsera). 18. Hemispheric Americanism: Latin American Exiles and US Revolutionary Writings (Rodrigo Lazo). 19. Putting Together the Pieces: Notes on the Eighteenth-Century Literary Imagination (Douglas Anderson). 20. The Transoceanic Emergence of American "Postcolonial" Identities (Gesa Mackenthun). Part IV. Genres and Writers: Cross-Cultural Conversations. 21. The Genres of Exploration and Conquest Literatures (E. Thomson Shields). 22. The Conversion Narrative in Early America (Lisa M. Gordis). 23. Indigenous Literacies: New England and New Spain (Hilary E. Wyss). 24. America's First Mass Media: Preaching and the Protestant Sermon Tradition (Gregory S. Jackson). 25. Neither Here Not There: Transatlantic Epistolary in Early America (Philip H. Round). 26. True Relations and Critical Fictions: The case of the Personal Narrative in Colonial American Literatures (Kathleen Donegan). 27. "Cross-Cultural Conversations": The captivity Narrative (Lisa M. Logan). 28. Epic, Creoles, and nation in Spanish America (Jose Antonio Mazzotti). 29. Plainness and Paradox: Colonial Tensions in the Early New England Religious Lyric (Amy M. E. Morris). 30. Captivating Animals: Science and Spectacle in Early American natural Histories (Kathryn Napier Gray). 31. Challenging Conventional Historiography: The Roaming "I"/Eye in Early Colonial American Eyewitness Accounts (Jerry M. Williams). 32. Republican Theatricaity and Transatlantic Empire (Elizabeth Maddock Dillon). 33. Reading Early American Fiction (Winfried Fluck). Index.
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Review quote

"The Companion succeeds vividly in bringing unfamiliar texts to the attention of Anglophone audiences ... an essential source for the postgraduate student of colonial and post-colonial studies involving the Americas." Reference Reviews
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About Susan Castillo

Susan Castillo is John Nichol Professor of American Literature at Glasgow University. Her books include Notes from the Periphery: Marginality in North American Literature and Culture (1995), Engendering Identities (1996) and Native American Women in Literature and Culture (1997, with Victor Da Rosa). Ivy Schweitzer is Associate Professor of English at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, and teaches in the Women's Studies, Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies Programs. She is the author of The Work of Self-Representation: Lyric Poetry in Colonial New England (1991). Together, they are also the editors of The Literatures of Colonial America: An Anthology (Blackwell Publishing, 2001).
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