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Essays on Modern American Literature

Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm from Emerson's writing in Nature. 'Enthusiasm', in Emerson, is a knowing word. Sometimes its use is as description, invariably approving, of a historic form of religious experience. Socrates' meaning of enthusiasm, and the image of the enthusiast it throws up, is crucial to this book. The book is a portrait of the writer as an enthusiast, where the portrait, as will become clear, carries more than a hint of polemic. It is about the transmission of literature, showing various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within in their writing or in their cultural activism. Henry David Thoreau's Walden is an enthusiastic book. It is where enthusiasm works both in Immanuel Kant's sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn's sense of the 'nearer' testament, and in Thoreau's own sense of supernatural serenity. Establishing Ezra Pound's enthusiasm is a fraught and complicated business. Marianne Moore composed poems patiently, sometimes over several years. She is a poet of things, as isolated things - jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant - are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. Homage to Frank O'Hara is a necessary book, because the sum of his aesthetic was to be found not just in his writing, but also in his actions to which only friends and contemporaries could testify. An enthusiastic reading of James Schuyler brings to the fore pleasure, the sheer pleasure that can come of combining, or mouthing, or transcribing.

Abstract only
Andrew McRae
John West

of the most striking accession poems of 1685 (V.5), indeed, professes to come from  the pen of the Quaker leader William Penn. Although the attribution is doubtful, the possibility that Penn could have been the target of mimicry reveals both how James cultivated allies among Protestant religious dissenters and how that policy was likely to be received by Anglicans. While some historians have seen James’s pursuit of toleration as the sign of an enlightened politician, others have questioned the political tact of forging alliances with dissenters and of his elevation

in Literature of the Stuart successions
Brian Mcfarlane

. Fortunately for Comfort, production on Hatter’s Castle (1941) was well underway before Penn was released. This is not to say that it received universally bad notices – the Guardian, for instance, thought it ‘A thoroughly well-documented English picture … an earnest and sincere picture of William Penn’, 9 and the Birmingham Post praised it as a ‘wholesome, honest apologia’ 10 -but the general tone of

in Lance Comfort
The compilation and reception of the prison prose of George Fox’s Journal (1694)
Catie Gill

George Fox's autobiographical writings make clear how entirely he committed his life to Quakerism. ‘Great and deep sufferings’ characterised Fox's religious travail, as William Penn noted, looking back over his friend's life. 1 An antagonistic figure, Fox, as his most recent biographer has shown, was ‘temperamentally unable to admit failure’, and yet the prison experience was apt to bring him to a point of reflection where he ‘evaluated his earlier position’. 2

in People and piety
Open Access (free)
Enthusiasm and audit
David Herd

should read it, don’t you think?’ Modern American writing, in so far as it can be understood to have its foundations in Emerson, had its origins, as he observed, in a fully developed, historically aware, enthusiastic view of the world; that enthusiastic point of departure being crucial, so it has been suggested, to the literature’s mobility, form and subject matter. William Penn identified in George Fox’s experimentalism a desire for ‘nearness’ with the condition of inspiration, the same ‘nearness’ that Stanley Cavell has described as American literature’s preferred

in Enthusiast!
Open Access (free)
A short essay on enthusia
David Herd

possession the individual emitted sounds or gained a verbal fluency of which, otherwise, they were hardly capable. This was most true of the sect known as the Ranters, but at their inception the subsequently reticent Quakers were also known for their extraordinary verbal outbursts. William Penn noted how the ‘meanest of this people’ – and this distribution of eloquence was very largely, from all points of view, the issue – gained ‘an extraordinary understanding in divine things, and an admirable fluency’.10 ‘The Extasys expressed themselves’, as the Earl of Shaftesbury put

in Enthusiast!
Gabriel Glickman

’, put American territory into the hands of the monarch as head of the Church, warned the Boston magistrate Samuel Sewell. 22 It violated the conviction, cherished in Congregationalist and Quaker colonies, that the lands of the New World ‘were not the Kings’, but belonged to ‘the Kings Subjects’, who, according to William Penn, had ‘buryed our Blood & Bones to turn it from a Desart to a pleasant Country … upon the publick faith, of enjoying our Government as well as our Labours’. 23 These authors reconceptualised great spaces of the New World not as the locale for a

in Making the British empire, 1660–1800
The Quaker culture of convincement
Hilary Hinds

horseback, in the manner of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.24 Later Quaker spokesmen such as William Penn and Robert Barclay drew back from and redefined the corporeally articulated Christ within so frequently invoked in the 1650s, yet the earlier perception was certainly not reformulated out of existence, as the earlier perception continued to be cited M2500 - HINDS PRINT.indd 17 02/03/2011 13:31 18 GEORGE FOX AND EARLY QUAKER CULTURE into the 1670s and beyond. Particularly telling in this regard is the first edition of Fox’s Journal (1694), published three years

in George Fox and early Quaker culture
Genre and temporality in Fox’s Journal
Hilary Hinds

Fox as a manipulative historian: ‘In some quarters at present it is the fashion to show antipathy to George Fox as self-important, and to play down his Journal as selective and doctored history. This is unfair, as well as illconsidered. Fox’s Journal makes no claim to be a history of early Quakerism. It is a genuine journal, with a journal’s self-centredness. The history was left to William Penn’.11 In refusing to read the Journal as history, Nuttall recuperates the text as a ‘genuine journal’ – a conclusion strikingly at odds, incidentally, with his earlier

in George Fox and early Quaker culture
Abstract only
Puritans, Quakers and Methodists
Alison Hulme

much so in fact, that Quakers were persecuted, tortured and hung by Puritans in the early days of the Massachusetts colony. Indeed, the establishment of Pennsylvania by the Quaker William Penn was in large part to provide a safe haven for persecuted Quakers (Baltzell, 1996:86).5 Yet, despite their fundamental differences, the Quaker message appeared, in practice, to echo Calvin in a firm belief in the virtues of thrift, sobriety and hard work at one’s calling. Quakers were not against riches, but were wary of them, believing it was preferable and correct to keep

in A brief history of thrift