By Perry D. Westbrook
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Extra resources for A literary history of New England
Excerpts from The Poems of Edward Taylor edited by Donald E. Stanford. (c) Copyright by Donald E. Stanford 1960. Published by permission. Excerpts from Edna St. Vincent Millay, Collected Poems, Harper and Row. Copyright 1922, 1934, 1950, 1962 by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis. By permission of Norma Millay Ellis. Excerpts from The Complete Poems of Frederick Goddard Tuckerman edited by N. Scott Momaday. Copyright (c) 1965 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Reprinted by permission.
Winthrop's style, while less frequently colloquial than Bradford's, is direct, unpretentious, unembellished. His talent was for straightforward, onward-moving narrative, but he lacked the genial warmth and sense of humor so attractive in Bradford's writing. Winthrop's Journal, like Bradford's Of Plimmoth Plantation, was not published until long after its author's death, though it too was known and was mined for material by later colonial historians. When it was finally published in its entirety (a portion of it had appeared in print in 1790) by the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1825 and 1826, it bore the title The History of New England from 1630 to 1649, which is somewhat misleading since Winthrop concerned himself mainly with the affairs of Massachusetts Bay and with personal experiences and impressions.
In the six northeastern states the old ways and values remained relatively intact at least until the Civil War, after which improved transportation and communication and the shift of much of the region to an industrial economy caused a slow, steady dilution of what had been distinctive to New England. This process is still not complete, despite the irresistible inroads of the mass culture. Yet, since World War II, New England's former uniqueness remains more as a legend, perhaps, than as an existing reality.
A literary history of New England by Perry D. Westbrook