Writing North America in the Seventeenth Century: English Representations in Print and Manuscript

Routledge
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Since the first permanent English colony was established at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 and accounts of the new world started to arrive back on the English shores, English men and women have had a fascination with their transatlantic neighbours and the landscape they inhabit. In this excellent study, Catherine Armstrong looks at the wealth of literature written by settlers of the new colonies, adventurers and commentators back in England, that presented this new world to early modern Englanders. A vast amount of original literature is examined including travel narratives, promotional literature, sermons, broadsides, ballads, plays and journals, to investigate the intellectual links between mother-country and colony. Representations of the climate, landscape, flora and fauna of North America in the printed and manuscript sources are considered in detail, as is the changing understanding of contemporaries in England of the colonial settlements being established in both Virginia and New England, and how these interpretations affected colonial policy and life on the ground in America. The book also recreates the context of the London book trade of the seventeenth century and the networks through which this literature would have been produced and transmitted to readers. This book will be valuable to those with interests in colonial history, the Atlantic world, travel literature, and historians of early modern England and North America in general.
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About the author

Dr Catherine Armstrong is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Warwick, UK
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Dec 5, 2016
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781351870795
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Through an analysis of textual representations of the American landscape, this book looks at how North America appeared in books printed on both sides of the Atlantic between the years 1660 and 1745. A variety of literary genres are examined to discover how authors described the landscape, climate, flora and fauna of America, particularly of the new southern colonies of Carolina and Georgia. Chapters are arranged thematically, each exploring how the relationship between English and American print changed over the 85 years under consideration. Beginning in 1660 with the impact of the Restoration on the colonial relationship, the book moves on to show how the expansion of British settlement in this period coincided with a dramatic increase in the production and consumption of the printed word and the further development of religious and scientific explanations of landscape change and climactic events. This in turn led to multiple interpretations of the American landscape dependent on factors such as whether the writer had actually visited America or not, differing purposes for writing, growing imperial considerations, and conflict with the French, Spanish and Natives. The book concludes by bringing together the three key themes: how representations of landscape varied depending on the genre of literature in which they appeared; that an author's perceived self-definition (as English resident, American visitor or American resident) determined his understanding of the American landscape; and finally that the development of a unique American identity by the mid-eighteenth century can be seen by the way American residents define the landscape and their relationship to it.
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