Reading against the narratives

Month: March 2016

Reading against the narratives

I ran across The Women of the Mayflower and Women of Plymouth Colony (an unnecessarily wordy title, I think) at the library while looking for a different book, so of course I had to check it out. Published in 1921 by Ethel Jane Russell Chesebrough Noyes, the book was no doubt inspired by the national attention paid to the Pilgrims the year before as a result of the tercentennial celebration of the Mayflower landing, but Noyes obviously felt the Pilgrim mothers had been slighted in the historical record and maybe even in the celebrations. Anne Rogers Minor, the President General of the

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A Peep at the Pilgrims, Part Two

Scribner’s American Historical Novels claims that Peep is one of “the best and most detailed of the early nineteenth-century novels of the Puritans [and] probably the best novel of its kind until Standish of Standish.” And while Sedgwick and Child both mention historical figures of Plymouth in their novels, neither writer focused specifically on Plymouth Pilgrims. The fact that Cheney did is interesting because she did it so early on. Cheney’s novel, published in 1924 and the same year as Child’s, pre-dates the publication of Bradford’s journal and the increasing interest in Pilgrims it generated. Indeed, many of the newspaper and

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A Peep at the Pilgrims: Part One

While I’m passionate about recovering the works of forgotten women writers, I also concede that some works have been forgotten for a reason. Harriet Vaughan Foster Cheney’s A Peep at the Pilgrims in 1636: A Tale of Olden Times probably won’t spark much interest among modern readers unless they like the didactic, heavily moralizing style of the earlier nineteenth century. Although the plot centers around the burgeoning (and forbidden!) romance developing between the English Edward Atherton and the Puritan Miriam Grey, there is suspenseful intrigue when Grey is captured by the Pequots, and various characters provide comic relief, the novel

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