We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR

Boston

Voices and Visions

Shaun O'Connell

Publication Year: 2010

“New England was founded consciously, and in no fit of absence of mind,” observed historian Samuel Eliot Morison on the establishment of the Bay Colony in 1630 on the narrow, mountainous Shawmut peninsula of what became Massachusetts. That self-conscious presence of mind has endured for four centuries. Boston has been shaped and sustained by observation, imagination, and interpretation. As a result, the evolving vision of Boston has yielded a compelling literary record. In this wide-ranging anthology, Shaun O’Connell includes a generous sampling of those who have recorded, revised, and redefined the vision of Boston. Anne Bradstreet, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary Antin, Edwin O’Connor, John Updike, and many others eloquently evoke and explain Boston in these pages. From John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” sermon, delivered aboard the Arbella before his followers landed in 1630 in the place they would call Boston, to Robert Lowell’s “For the Union Dead,” a poem delivered in Boston’s Public Garden in 1960, writers have continued to invoke the high purposes for which the city was founded, sometimes in praise of the city, but often in what Robert Frost named a “lover’s quarrel,” in works that called attention to the city’s failures to fulfill its promises. In the twenty-first century some writers continue to celebrate or to castigate the city, while others look back to Boston’s origins to reassess its founders and renew its covenant of high purpose. This is an interpretive anthology—one that includes commentary as well as writings. Section introductions provide historical and biographical context, offer analysis that stresses the thematic relevance of each selection, and explore the pattern of their relations. Rather than present a random array of writers who happen to have been Greater Bostonians, O’Connell focuses on those authors who possessed a commitment to the sense of place, those who addressed Boston not only as a geographical, social, and political entity but as an image, idea, and site of symbolic values

Published by: University of Massachusetts Press

Front Matter

pdf iconDownload PDF (51.9 KB)
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.0 KB)
pp. vii-x

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (63.7 KB)
pp. xi-xiv

Boston: Voices and Visions had its origins in many essays and reviews on Greater Boston writers I have published in various journals, but particularly in an essay I wrote for New England Journal of Public Policy, “Imagining Boston” (Summer/Fall 1986), for which I thank NEJPP editor Padraig O’Malley. I am grateful to Dan Wakefield for encouraging me to expand this essay into a book and for bringing the project to the attention of Beacon Press. ...

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF (47.9 KB)
pp. xv-xvi

“New England was founded consciously, and in no fit of absence of mind,” observed historian Samuel Eliot Morison of the establishment of the Bay Colony on the exposed, narrow, mountainous Shawmut peninsula of Eastern Massachusetts in 1630. That self-conscious presence of mind has endured for nearly four centuries. Boston has been shaped and sustained by observation, imagination, and interpretation. ...

read more

I. Boston, from Winthrop to Hawthorne

pdf iconDownload PDF (223.0 KB)
pp. 1-31

In “The Minister’s Vigil,” chapter XII of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850), Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale climbs the scaffold at the center of Puritan Boston on a dark May night. There, seven years before, he had stood, a silent witness, while Hester Prynne was punished for adultery, though he had been her lover and was the father of their child, Pearl. ...

read more

II. Boston and the American Renaissance

pdf iconDownload PDF (312.8 KB)
pp. 32-85

James T. Fields traveled to Salem from Boston to visit Nathaniel Hawthorne in late 1848, hoping to draw a manuscript from the secretive author for Ticknor & Fields, then “the publishing centre of Boston,” as Van Wyck Brooks put it in The Flowering of New England.1 Advanced by this publisher, Hawthorne, author of tales and romances on human frailty and sorrow, ...

read more

III. Post-Civil War Boston

pdf iconDownload PDF (258.6 KB)
pp. 86-126

After a decade of contention over slavery and immigration, Boston experienced its finest era during the Civil War, when the community came together with unified purpose to oppose slavery, fight Confederate secession, and preserve the Union. In this trial of national identity and values Bostonians were reunited by recalling the high purpose that John Winthrop ...

read more

IV. "Viewed in Boston light": Turn-of-the-century Boston

pdf iconDownload PDF (297.5 KB)
pp. 127-174

After a decade of contention over slavery and immigration, Boston experienced its finest era during the Civil War, when the community came together with unified purpose to oppose slavery, fight Confederate secession, and preserve the Union. In this trial of national identity and values Bostonians were reunited by recalling the high purpose that John Winthrop had set for the city’s founders ...

read more

V. The "Other" Bostonians: New Voices and Visions

pdf iconDownload PDF (486.7 KB)
pp. 175-262

After the Civil War Boston’s ascendancy class grew anxious that the city upon a hill was under siege, that they were being crowded out, invaded by immigrants. Bromfield Corey, the representative Brahmin in William Dean Howells’s The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885), realized while walking toward Beacon Hill across the Common that he felt like an “alien” in his native ...

read more

VI. "There it was": Boston, City of Self and Spirit

pdf iconDownload PDF (327.4 KB)
pp. 263-314

Conscience and self-consciousness, the habits of mind carried across the Atlantic to New England in the early seventeenth century by the Puritan settlers of Boston, dissipated but never entirely disappeared over the next four centuries. “New England was founded consciously, and in no fit of absence of mind,” observed historian Samuel Eliot Morison on the establishment of the Bay Colony in 1630.1 ...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF (255.7 KB)
pp. 315-330

Sources

pdf iconDownload PDF (692.4 KB)
pp. 331-335


E-ISBN-13: 9781613760338
E-ISBN-10: 1613760337
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558498198
Print-ISBN-10: 1558498192

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2010