Jeffrey Hammond's study of the funeral elegies of early New England reassesses a body of poems whose importance in their own time has been obscured by almost total neglect in ours. Hammond reconstructs the historical, theological and cultural contexts of these poems to demonstrate how they responded to Puritan views on a specific process of mourning. The elegies emerge, he argues, as performative scripts that consoled readers by shaping their experience. They shed new light on the emotional dimension of Puritanism and the important role of ritual in Puritan culture.
Jeffrey Hammond's study takes an anthropological approach to the most popular form of poetry in early New England - the funeral elegy.
This book is a critical study of the Puritan funeral elegies of early New England.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 240-255) and index.
Introduction; 1. Monuments enduring and otherwise; 2. Toward an anthropology of Puritan reading; 3. Weep for yourselves; the Puritan theology of mourning; 4. This potent fence: the holy sin of grief; 5. Lord, is it I?: Christic saints and apostolic mourners; 6. Diffusing all by pattern: the reading of saintly lives; Epilogue: aestheticizing loss.
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