At the risk of complicating matters, I’ve decided to create a group for the discussion of Standish of Standish, which is set to begin this weekend (if you haven’t downloaded a copy of my annotated version, you can find it here: http://inventingthepilgrims.com/standish/ I think a group will be much more efficient and easier to work with. Frankly, the more I worked with Facebook pages, the more cumbersome I found them, and their algorithms privilege paid posts and the number of clicks/posts. There was also no way to send messages or communicate with other members. I hope you’ll consider joining the group!
As much as I love to visit in person, and as vital as it is to my research, though, there are limits to my ability to travel. For the most part, I’ve paid for my own research trips. I had funding from my college and help from the Mayflower Society for my most recent trip, but other than that, I’ve paid for everything else. So I’m learning to use technology in other ways. Another clue from an old book led me on a path to a previously unknown archive in a small public library. That archive never came up in
Now that I’ve made all the “easy” finds, I’m facing the more difficult, and yet more enthralling, task of digging in deeper and finding the materials that aren’t so readily available. Technology has obviously made so many things easier; I would not have been able to accomplish this project 50 years ago. But there is nothing like being in an archive in person, especially when you don’t know what you might uncover. I’m not known for my sparkling conversation at cocktail parties (heck, I don’t even go to cocktail parties), but I can lose myself in a dusty archive and
I was excited to publish “Inventing the Pilgrims in American Literature” for the May 2017 edition of the Mayflower Journal, the members-only journal for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. But I was even more excited when the director invited me to come to Plymouth for a week to conduct research in local archives and meet historians and others who work with Pilgrim and Plymouth history. I flew to Plymouth on May 19 and spent eight busy days trying to accomplish as much as I could. I finished up my week with a lunch talk with the Mayflower Society staff
Now that I’m explaining this project to friends and colleagues, I find they’re often a little puzzled. Many think that I’m researching the actual Pilgrims and Puritans, but I’m mostly interested in what happened to their story after they were long gone. But I still get some questions, mostly about why this project is relevant in 2017. Originally, I was fascinated by all the ways that literature got the facts wrong. Then I was intrigued by the ways history borrowed from literature. Then I started to see all of those texts as very closely related, as a process of representation
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