Sunday, September 20, 2009

Anne Bradstreet Reading Guide

  • What do you know about the biographer, Charlotte Gordon, and how does this affect your reading of the book? In other words, what of Gordon's own experiences/points of view do you think she brings to her telling of Bradstreet's life?
  • Who does Gordon identify as influences in Bradstreet's development?
  • In her preface, Gordon suggests that Bradstreet would have imagined herself "the most modern of moderns" (xiii). What does she mean by that?
  • In what ways do Bradstreet's spirituality and intellectual life intersect?
  • What vision of England do you get through the perspective of Anne Bradstreet's life? How is it distinct from other points of view we have explored so far?
  • How does Bradstreet's role as a mother figure in important ways to her experience in New England?
  • What connections can you draw between this book and other texts we've read so far? Cabeza de Vaca, "Of Cannibals," "Of Plantations," to name a few....
Gordon includes an image of a seventeenth-century map as a way of orienting you to the Massachusettes Bay in the 1630s (a later edition is included above). The map was originally printed in 1634 as a part of William Wood's travel narrative, New England's Prospect. Wood traveled to the New World between 1629-1633 and offered one of the earliest accounts of colonial America.

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