In this provocative and thought-provoking quantity, Christopher Leise sheds new mild on glossy American novelists who query not just the idea that Puritans based New England—and, by means of extension, American identity—but additionally no matter if Puritanism ever existed within the usa at all.
The tale upon a Hill: The Puritan fable in modern American Fiction analyzes the paintings of numerous of crucial modern writers within the usa as reinterpreting typical narratives of the country’s origins with a willing eye at the results of inclusion and exclusion that Puritan myths advertise. In 1989, Ronald Reagan recalled the phrases of Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop, who imagined the colony as a “city upon a hill” for destiny countries to emulate. In Reagan’s speech, Winthrop’s signature rhetoric grew to become a symbol of yank idealism, and for lots of americans, the Puritans’ New England was once where the place the us cast its unique identity.
But what if Winthrop by no means gave that speech? What if he didn't even write it? Historians can't definitively solution those questions. in truth, no staff that we discuss with as American Puritans considered themselves as Puritans. relatively, they have been a bunch of dissident Christians usually greater outlined by means of their disagreements than their shared beliefs.
Literary students attracted to Anglo-American literary creation from the 17th century in the course of the current, historians, and readers attracted to how principles approximately Christianity movement in pop culture will locate attention-grabbing the ways that William Gaddis, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, and Marilynne Robinson repurpose so-called Puritan varieties of expression to forge a brand new narrative of recent England’s Congregationalist legacy in American letters. Works via Colson Whitehead, Paul Auster, Toni Morrison, and others also are thought of. The tale upon a Hill increases a provocative query: if the Puritans by no means existed as we comprehend them, what may American heritage appear like in that context?