Puritanism: The People, Religion, and Poetry

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Puritanism: The People, Religion, and Poetry Puritan literature began the American tradition. Though they followed the traditions of European poetry, later American poets continued this borrowing from Europe, until innovations led American poetry further away from the standards the Puritans had held for poetry. The poetry the Puritans wrote was characterized substantially by their religion. It affected their themes, taken from their everyday lives, but focused on faith and theology. Also, it influenced the degree of community and individualism, which bridged the older traditions of community to the growth of individualism down through American history. They also valued logic and considered it an important means to learning God's truth. It was this logic and their concepts of God and how he revealed himself to people, that gave them a strong belief in nature as a book to be read, containing the truths they already held. Reading the book of nature was one of the significant aspects of Puritan poetry that later poets followed until some began to question that there were any good foundations for doing this. Gradually, conceptions about nature and God and perception led poets farther from this Puritan tradition. By the time of modern poetry, understandings about nature, God, and people had been completely changed. Thus, Puritan poetry affected American poetry by providing ideas that could not only be followed, but could also be rejected. One of the results of reading the book of nature is the tendency to use metaphors to nature. Use of metaphor extended beyond nature, though. Many Puritan poets used metaphors and extended metaphor often. Their examples were English metaphysical and conceitists poets. Like these poets, the Puritan... ... middle of paper ... ...American Poetry. Ed. Jay Parini. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. pg 50. Taylor, Edward. "Upon a Spider Catching a Fly." Columbia Anthology of American Poetry. Ed. Jay Parini. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. pg 49 Tenth Muse Lately sprung up in America, The . By a Gentlewoman in those parts. (London: Stephen Bowtell, 1650): 3-4. Representative Poetry On-line: Editor, I. Lancashire; Publisher, Web Development Group, Inf. Tech. Services, Univ. of Toronto Lib. RPO 1997. © I. Lancashire, Dept. of English (Univ. of Toronto), and Univ. of Toronto Press 1997. available at http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/poems/abrad1c.html. accessed 12/6/01. Winthrop, John. “A Modell of Christian Charity.” The American Intellectual Tradition, volume I. third edition. Eds. David A. Hollinger and Charles Capper. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
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