On Writing the History of So Much Grief: Cotton Mather's Decennium Luctuosum and the Trauma of Colonial History
Abstract

In 1699 Cotton Mather published his history of King William's War, Decennium Luctuosum. Historians and literary critics have taken note of the bodily violence throughout the text and have argued that the text's rhetorical and rhetoric of violence suggest his anger at Puritan settlers for turning away from Ministerial authority. This study takes a different approach to Decennium Luctuosum by acknowledging the importance of grief in the text. It argues that grief and trauma were key to understanding how Mather attempted to regenerate the Puritan community in the wake of the crisis it experienced in the sorrowful decade of the 1690s.