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By Susan Castillo, Ivy Schweitzer

This wide advent to Colonial American literatures brings out the comparative and transatlantic nature of the writing of this era and highlights the interactions among local, non-scribal teams, and Europeans that helped to form early American writing.

  • Situates the writing of this era in its quite a few ancient and cultural contexts, together with colonialism, imperialism, diaspora, and state formation.
  • Highlights interactions among local, non-scribal teams and Europeans throughout the early centuries of exploration.
  • Covers quite a lot of techniques to defining and examining early American writing.
  • Looks on the improvement of neighborhood spheres of effect within the 17th and eighteenth centuries.
  • Serves as a necessary adjunct to Castillo and Schweitzer’s ‘The Literatures of Colonial the United States: An Anthology’ (Blackwell Publishing, 2001).

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Extra resources for A companion to literatures of colonial America

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At the same time, as the limitations of earlier conceptions of comparative literature have usefully demonstrated, simple comparison of colonial and indigenous rhetorical or other formal modes, whether ‘‘hybrid’’ or not, seems equally inadequate. Clearly, if discourse analysis also demands some kind of formal analysis, formal analysis must also engage discourse analysis. It is in the intersection of the two that we can see not only that similar or different cultural forms are retained, discarded, or become differentially mixed, but are also forced to speculate about the similar or differing historical conditions of possibility which they engage and to which they respond.

Contemporary Native author Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo) asserts this destruction of Native writing was purposeful: They burned the great libraries because they wished to foster the notion that the New World was populated by savages. Savages could be slaughtered and enslaved; savages were no better than wild beasts and thus had no property rights. International law regulated the fate of conquered nations but not of savages or beasts . . The great libraries of the Americas were destroyed in 1540 because the Spaniards feared the political and spiritual power of books authored by the indigenous peoples.

Although many Native communities eventually answered to Euro-American notions of racial purity in order to maintain their political sovereignty, Native American studies scholarship documents more complex notions of identification and affiliation among the tribes of the colonial and early national Americas: Christian Indian converts, white captives who refuse to leave their newfound Indian families, backcountry Scotch-Irish who married among the Cherokee and Creek, and mixed-race Black Indians from Massachusetts to Georgia.

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