Colonial America. 1. Historical Background. ⑴ In 1492, Christopher Columbus found the new continent called America.
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The transportation was not convenient, why many immigrants left their hometown and came to such a remote place as America?
Economic reasons; Religious reasons---reformation and religious conflicts in Europe; persecution of Protestants.
2. American Puritanism（清教主义）
Puritanism is the practices and beliefs of the Puritans.
◆ John Calvin, a theologian, Puritans believed most doctrines preached by him, so they were also called Calvinists
◆ Puritans wanted to “purify the church” to its original state, because they thought the church was corrupted and had too many rituals
◆To be a Puritan: taking religion as the most important thing; living for glorifying God; believing predestination（命运天定）, original sin（原罪，人生下来就是有罪的，因为人类的祖先亚当和夏娃是有罪的）, total depravity（人类是完全堕落的，所以人要处处小心自己的行为，要尽可能做到最好以取悦上帝）, limited atonement（有限救赎，只有被上帝选中的人才能得到上帝的拯救）
◆Life style of Puritans: pious, austerity of taste, diligence and thrift, rigid sense of morality, self-reliance (John Milton is a typical Puritan.)
◆On the one hand, American puritans were all idealist as their European brothers. They came to the new continent with the dream that they would build the new land to an Eden on earth.
◆On the other hand, American Puritans were more practical because of the severe conditions they faced.
◆Basis of American literature: the dream of building an Eden of Garden on earth. (Early American literature were mainly optimistic because they believed that God sent them to the new continent to fulfill the sacred task so they would overcome all the difficulties they met at last. Gradually Americans found that their dreams would not be successful, so lots of pessimistic literary works were produced.)
◆ Symbolism（象征主义）: lots of American writers liked to employ symbolism in their works. (typical way of Puritans who thought that all the simple objects existing in the world connoted deep meaning.)
◆ Style:Influenced by the lifestyle of Puritan, the writing style is fresh, simple and direct, the rhetoric is plain and honest, not without a touch of nobility often traceable to the direct influence of the Bible.
◆Humble origins: diaries, histories, letters etc.
◆In content: serving either God or colonial expansion or both
◆In form: imitating English literary traditions
(5) Anne Bradstreet (1612?-1672)
◆ first American woman poet; a Puritan poet; once called “Tenth Muse”;
◆ Her poems are mainly about religious experience, family life and early settlers’ lives;
◆ Her poetry is written in poetical plain style, clear, direct and unadorned.
◆ most famous poems— “Contemplations”
◆ He is the most important poet in the 18th century.
◆He was entitled “Father of American Poetry”.
◆He was born in New York and graduated from Princeton University.
◆He wrote lots of poems supporting American Revolution and human liberty.
◆He was the most notable representative of dawning American nationalism in literature.
◆His poems presented Romantic spirits but his form and taste were mainly influenced by Classicism.
◆Most famous poems: “The Wild Honey Suckle” and “The Indian Burying Ground”
when he was16.
experiment (kite, electricity, thunderstorm)