“How to revive Massachusetts’ first language,” an article about the Wampanoag Nation’s efforts to “resurrect” their native language, appeared in the Boston Globe a few days ago. It’s a fascinating look at their dedicated efforts over the last few decades. One line in particular stood out to me: “What happened to Wampanoag was an act of violence, a cruel chapter of Massachusetts history that is rarely discussed.” And when it is discussed, it is a heated debate, to say the least. Historians try to sort out the responsibilities and actions of the varying groups, from the Puritans to the Pilgrims.
Quick Facts about Standish of Standish: Date of publication: 1889 Author: Jane Goodwin Austin (NOT the English Jane Austen!) Setting: Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the early years of the settlement Plot Synopsis: Standish of Standish opens with the Mayflower anchored in the harbor and the women demanding to be taken ashore to do their laundry after months onboard. The Pilgrims eventually find and then settle in Plymouth where they deal with the difficulties of the first winter, including numerous deaths. The first summer is more successful, as is the first fall, and Pilgrims invite the Wampanoag to a feast by way of saying thank you. Another year passes as
Quick Facts: Date of Publication: 1824, the same year as Hobomok Author: Harriet Vaughan Foster Cheney Setting: Mostly around Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1636 just before the Pequot War Plot Synopsis: Miriam Grey is a young Puritan woman in Plymouth. Loved by all in the community for her sweetness and beauty, she is a faithful daughter and cheerfully endures the deprivations of pioneer life for the sake of her father, to whom she is very obedient. She falls in love with the English Edward Atherton, who is visiting Miles Standish, his relative. But like Standish, Edward is not Puritan, and Miriam’s
Quick Facts: Date of publication: 1824, the same year as Harriet Vaughan Cheney’s A Peep at the Pilgrims in 1636: A Tale of Olden Times, and only a year after James McHenry’s The Spectre of the Forest, or Annals of the Housatonic, the earliest Pilgrim/Puritan novel I’ve identified Author: Lydia Maria Child, her first publication Setting: Naumkeak, now present-day Salem Massachusetts, in 1629, just before the arrival of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and later Plymouth, through about 1633 Plot Synopsis: Mary Conant, the daughter of a harsh Puritan, loses her lover, Charles Brown, when he is banished from the colony
I’m so excited to share a link to a profile of Austin that I wrote for Anne Boyd Rioux’s Bluestocking Bulletin, a newsletter with updates about her own work and which features a profile of a woman writer. I thoroughly enjoyed Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist, which Dr. Rioux published to great acclaim in 2016. I first encountered Woolson in a course of American women regionalist writers several years ago. While the class was nearly unanimous in admiring her work, Woolson’s relationship with Henry James overshadowed our discussions. Rioux’s biography shows that Woolson was a talented and ambitious writer who achieved success on
I am a native Floridian who never even saw snow until I was sixteen. The closest I would get were the freezes when the fern farmers had to run their sprinklers so the ice would insulate the ferns. The sprinklers and the ferns would be covered in icicles, creating what to me was a magical winter wonderland. So winter weather was one of the things that captivated me the most when I was an avid young reader. It seemed so exotic and cozy. I wanted to ice skate like Jo and Amy did in Little Women, although naturally I would not be as foolish as