Archive for the 'Perry Miller' Category


September 13, 2006

“We can trace the forming of the jeremiadas as early as 1640s, in the last publications of Shepard and Cotton…The foremost published utterances of the 1670s were all jeremiads”

Samuel Danforth, A Brief Recognition of New England’s Errand into the Wilderness, 1670
Thomas Shepard, Eye-Salve, 1672
Urian Oakes, New England Pleaded With, 1673
Increase Mather, The Day of Trouble is Near, 1673, A Discourse Concerning the Danger of Apostacy, 1677
William Hubbard, The Happiness of a People, 1676


Building my own historiographical account of Perry Miller historiography

September 12, 2006

Why am I interested in Miller?I am interested because I am interested in ‘unity,’ or those times when humans let down their guard long enough to enter into cosmos and bring back into their mind ideas inspired by oneness occasionally felt. This sounds pretty hokey, so I can try to fix it up by saying I am interested in the emergence of the free will, or better in historiography and ways in which America as a country or a culture can trace ideas itself back to Classical culture. I am interested in intellectual history, how ideas effect time.  At this point in my life I am no longer interested in economic and cultural determinism which has provided me with nothing but misery in the last decade.  I want to know people and I want to believe in their ability to act according their own volition. 

In his day, Miller defended Puritans from narrow readings of economic determinists, and showed how (at least some Puritan preachers of) the Seventeenth Century were interested in humanism traceable to Hellenic times. Miller may be read today by a complete fool such as myself to discover the Puritans belief in a world created by God as a unity. Perhaps I am still ‘wet behind the ears’ enough to revel in the idea that (1) the universe was created by a mysterious force and (2) since the world was created good and beautiful, depraved man is the source of all disharmony (well this still irks me a bit, but I go roll with it a bit.) Man does seems to destroy the earth, and although the earth may never be destroy, just changed, I am interested in recovering certain traditions which have been lost in the last few generations with the amplification of the echo of free will.

It all adds up to the enormous questions about the freedom of thought, and our place in the world as the living; how life is simultaneously simple and difficult, …

Post of sources to be worked with.

Anxieties of Influence: Perry Miller and Sacvan Bercovitch
Arne Delfs
The New England Quarterly > Vol. 70, No. 4 (Dec., 1997), pp. 601-615Delfs above reads Harlans below as a source for the potential conflict between Bercovitch and Miller.A People Blinded from Birth: American History According to Sacvan Bercovitch
David Harlan
The Journal of American History > Vol. 78, No. 3 (Dec., 1991), pp. 949-971One of Bercovitch’s early essay potentially opposing Miller.

New England Epic: Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana
Sacvan Bercovitch
ELH > Vol. 33, No. 3 (Sep., 1966), pp. 337-350 Older Perry Miller historiographical essays (these articles printed and filed):The Myth of Perry Miller
Francis T. Butts
The American Historical Review > Vol. 87, No. 3 (Jun., 1982), pp. 665-694

Perry Miller and Philosophical History
David A. Hollinger
History and Theory > Vol. 7, No. 2 (1968), pp. 189-202

Perry Miller remebered in 1982 American Quarterly (to read)

August 1, 2006

James Hoope, ‘Art as History: Perry Miller’s New England Mind,’ American Quarterly, 34:I(1982) 3-25

While I might give a thousand reasons why I prefer to inundate myself with the data I do, near the top of the list must lie a love of beauty. I have recently turned to so-called outdated history seeking and finding beauty in its prose. I could analyze the motive behind this new found desire for clean, plain writing to discover certain autobiographical facts, not the least being my own inability to form sentences or see typographical mistakes. Why do I not know how to write? Worse thoughts arrives when I consider my own inability to write as part of a larger phenomenon where written word has met its destruction. I now seek to build up my ability to formulate a…

Daniel W. Howe, ‘Descendents of Perry Miller,’ American Quarterly, 34:I(1982),94. This is a review essay of Sacvan Bercovitch’s The American Jeremiad and David Levin’s Cotton Mather.

More Bercovitch: “Typology in Puritan New England: The William-Cotton Controversy Reassessed,” American Quarterly, 19(1967)