Ann bradstreet edward taylor mary rowlandson
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Ann Bradstreet • Edward Taylor • Mary Rowlandson. A Comparative View. Bradstreet 1612-1672 "Burning Of Our House ” 1666. variations in rhythm, syntax, end-rhyme to signify rhetorical effect or emphasis

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Ann Bradstreet • Edward Taylor • Mary Rowlandson

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Ann Bradstreet • Edward Taylor • Mary Rowlandson

A Comparative View


Bradstreet 1612-1672"Burning Of Our House” 1666

  • variations in rhythm, syntax, end-rhyme to signify rhetorical effect or emphasis

  • metaphysical conceits (as opposed to a Petrarchan conceit): A conceit is a figure of speech which makes an unusual and sometimes elaborately sustained comparison between two dissimilar things.

  • A metaphysical conceit draws upon a wide range of knowledge, from the commonplace to the esoteric, and its comparisons are elaborately rationalized.

  • irony

  • the use of the maternal domestic role as a source of authority

  • self-exploration through historic and mythic heroines

  • the use of irony to allow her to say what could not otherwise be said openly

  • self-effacing apologies

  • pride in her own ability to instruct and experience life


Taylor 1642-1729"Huswifery” 1682

  • an awareness that his spiritual salvation and poetic imagination are dependent on one another. (Compare to Bradstreet’s “Prologue”)

  • discuss his use of extended metaphor v. Bradstreet's use of conceit

  • the use of metaphysical conceit make him comparable to the English Metaphysical Poets John Donne and Andrew Marvel (16th c.)

  • struggle for poetical inspiration and his struggle for authority

  • balance of didactic content and creative content

  • conservative style, Harvard minister, working in traditional forms

  • Ultimately, what is the purpose of his poetry? How entertaining is it in comarison to Rowlandson’s narrative? What might be the intended audience? The intended effect?


Rowlandson 1636-1711"Narrative of Captivity" 1682

  • What problems exist in regarding a literary narrative as an historical record? Do you feel this is a result of the literal authority given the bible by Puritan society? Or, rather, is it a result of propaganda to win European interest in the colonial project?

  • What narrative conventions does Rowlandson story follow, what conventions does it not?

  • What are your feelings about her use of biblical quotation? What about her introduction to Native American vocabulary? What is different about this didactic element from others?

  • What are your feelings about her reaction to loss, and the death of her own child?

  • Historical record or entertainment? Is the entire narrative a form of conceit? Or, how literally is it to be taken? Why, or why not? How would you describe the literary value of Rowlandson’s writing?


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