January 14, 2018
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Data visualization for Taylor’s Preparatory Meditations
Robert Reither addresses Edward Taylor’s “Preparatory Meditations: Meditation 26, second series”. This passage directly acknowledges Taylor’s sins in passage 46 and exemplifies the need to be clean before one can enter into heaven. According to Reither, this means his sins must be washed away before he can enter “church fellowship and … heaven” (120). During the second part of this passage, Taylor asks specific questions relating to his sins and how he will be made clean. These questions are answered in the following stanzas of the 26th meditation.
Reiter, Robert E. “Poetry and Typology: Edward Taylor’s ‘Preparatory Meditations’, Second Series, Numbers 1-30.” Early American Literature, vol. 5, no. 1, 1970, pp. 111–123. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25070450.
Edward Taylor’s Preparatory Meditations: A Decorum of Imperfection by Charles W. Mignon discuss’s how Taylor’s prologue offers insight into his poems. Explaining how Taylor attempts to use his writing to praise God. Mignon explains how in the second stanza of the prologue when Taylor says “It would but blot and blur, yea, jag and jar, unless thou mak’st the pen and scribener.” Taylor is asking God to give him Grace so that he is able to write a praiseworthy, heavenly poem. Through the entirety of the stanza, Taylor is asking God to bless his pen with grace because even “If it pen had of an angel’s quill, And sharpened on a precious stone ground tight, And dipped in liquid gold, and moved by skill In crystal leaves should golden letters write, It would but blot and blur” Taylor’s saying no matter how holey the pen or writer is, no man on his own will can create any praise of God worthwhile, unless God himself gives grace to the material and by grace enables the poet to write.
Mignon, Charles W. “Edward Taylor’s ‘Preparatory Meditations:” A Decorum of Imperfection.” PMLA, vol. 83, no. 5, 1968, pp. 1423–1428. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1261315
Sorry, this post was meant for stanza three, not stanza six.
The “Bird of Paradise” in this paragraph is described by Clark Griffith as a representation of our souls. The bird feeds on the forbidden fruit, and falls into “Celestial Famine” because of its sin. It’s eventually saved by the bread given to the bird from God, who baked the bread and ground the flour. Griffith shows us that in Taylor’s poem, the bird is like our souls, “partaking of both sin and salvation” (Griffith), and the bird is trapped in an earthly cage, similar to us being trapped in our material and earthly bodies. The only way the bird survives is through its dependency upon God for the nourishment that leads to its salvation. Griffith points out that the metaphors used throughout Meditation 8 can range from simple to “contrastingly complex and inventive” (Griffith). Taylor uses bases and motifs from Genesis 2 and the rest of the Gospels, and then begins to add more of his own imagination and creativity to them to make them more unique. Griffith points out that from a Puritan perspective, Taylor has probably seen too much, or “beholds Godhead with far too great a degree of intimacy” (Griffith), yet his poems give us an insight into how metaphors were used by Puritans.
Griffith, Clark. “Edward Taylor and the Momentum of Metaphor.” ELH, vol. 33, no. 4, 1966, pp. 448–460. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2872201.
Edward Taylor’s “Preparatory Meditations:” A Decorum of Imperfection, written by Charles W. Mignon, argues against critics who claim Taylor to be a primarily metaphysical poet. Throughout the article, Mignon points to various poems to win this argument, but in this stanza, we see Taylor allude to absolute sovereignty, which Mignon and I will both agree separates Taylor from metaphysical poetry. Taylor refers to himself as “a Crumb of Dust”. Mignon argues this referral relates to Taylor’s commitment to his possible election; “…even in the elect there is an irreconcilable war between the flesh and the spirit” (Mignon). Without grace, Taylor views his writing as a failure. His poetry directly relates to his election, and it is not by Taylor’s hand or imagination that his poetry will succeed, it is by the hand of God.
Mignon, Charles W. “Edward Taylor’s ‘Preparatory Meditations:” A Decorum of Imperfection.” PMLA, vol. 83, no. 5, 1968, pp. 1423–1428. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1261315.
Joseph M. Garrison addresses Edward Taylor’s style and theme in his Meditations as adding to the emotion of the topics he is discussing. Garrison points out that in Taylor’s Meditations he references poetic structure and implies that worship would not prosper without structure. Specifically in this stanza, Taylor uses structure and voice to stress his religious uneasiness as shown in the line “That I may enter…” and then goes into express Taylor’s “oneness” and relationship with God. Garrison points out that the structure and verses are a large part of what gets Taylor’s puritan views across so well to the readers because of how he uses tone and ties it all together throughout all of his Meditations. While words are important, this article points out the importance of the writers thought process in the structure and how that also ties into the meaning and the writers tone.
Garrison, Joseph M. “The ‘Worship-Mould’: A Note on Edward Taylor’s ‘Preparatory Meditations.’” Early American Literature, vol. 3, no. 2, 1968, pp. 127–131. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25070368.
Mignon notes that the prologue raises questions while also giving clues to Taylor’s attitude to poetry. It also brings us to the matter of decorum. While Taylor’s writings have thrown him into the cluster of metahysical poets, when we look at decorum, and choice, plus organization of his metaphors, we distinguish him from other English metaphysicals. To see this decorum, we can firstly look at his prologue to preparatory meditations. He notes that Grabo had indicated “that the full meaning of (the poem’s) terms is not contained in the poem itself, but draws from the entire body of Taylor’s writing, including his prose.” Taylor’s style leads to this decorum. He believes in looking at Taylor’s attitude to style set him apart from who he has been compared to. “One clue to Taylor’s attitude to poetry is given in stanza two of the Prologue. Even if the man the Crumb of Dust had a Pen of Angel’s Quill, and that…” This leads to one theme in puritan poetry of Election. That only God can give us grace that enables us to give him praise. (Mignon)
When I read this stanza in the first read-through, I initially assumed it to only be talking about the original sin–that of Adam choosing to eat from the forbidden tree. The line, “Had pecked the Fruit forbade” led me to this assumption, and I read on under the impression that the Bird of Paradise was Adam and This Wicker Cage referred to Eden. However, when I went back in my second read-through, I began to doubt myself, and realized that my doubt was right–there is much more to this than solely the Original Sin. In his article,”Edward Taylor’s Attitude toward Classical Paganism” , author John Shields noted that Taylor, “…alludes to the histories or mythologies of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, indicating a broad familiarity with these cultures” ( Shields 168). Having read Shield’s analysis, I began to wonder if this stanza could contain an allusion to mythology. Not seeing any footnote, I did some research and found that the Bird of Paradise in ancient Greece often referred to the soul. That being said, Taylor states that this bird was, “…put in/This Wicker Cage…” If the Bird of Paradise is the soul, I wonder if the Wicker Cage refers to the body. In this paragraph, Taylor combines both the Greek allusion of the Bird of Paradise with the allusion to the original sin of Adam and Eve. This juxtaposition not only shows that Taylor is educated in both Greek mythology and Christianity but shows the absolute sovereignty of God. Combining both allusions into one stanza shows that God is present everywhere, even in Greek mythology. As stated in the discussion in class, “God is a circle whose circumference is nowhere and center is everywhere.” This stanza just shows the omniscient presence of God.
Shields, John C. “Jerome in Colonial New England: Edward Taylor’s Attitude toward Classical Paganism.” Studies in Philology, vol. 81, no. 2, 1984, pp. 161–184. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4174170.
The piece I read in the journal article titled “Edward Taylor’s “Preparatory Meditations:” A Decorum of Imperfection” by Charles W. Mignon and what he brought out regarding Taylor is that, unless ordained by God, everything that Taylor did he felt was worthless unless inspired by God’s grace. I thought this particular stanza was interesting because of Taylor referring to himself as a “child.” During this time, they viewed children as there to learn and to be seen and not heard. He even brings out his childlike imperfect qualities and lowers himself even further, “Yet being a child, whether consonant or mute, I force my tongue to tattle.” So here you can clearly see that he views himself as not only a child, but a child that either talks too much or too little. He has lowered himself, because in his view nothing he does without the favor of God is worthwhile. Another point that the article I read over suggested is that Taylor is unique because he believes glory is only possible in heaven, and he also regularly point out his own failures and shortcomings while here on earth as is seen in this reference to himself as being a child. However we see towards the end of the stanza, “I thy glorious praise may trumpet right.” This shows what the article discussed, that he can “trumpet” the word of God but whatever comes from his lips in childish and useless.
Mignon, C. (1968). Edward Taylor’s “Preparatory Meditations:” A Decorum of Imperfection. PMLA, 83(5), 1423-1428. doi:10.2307/1261315
Robert E. Reiter examines Edward Taylor’s use of the symbolic ties to blood and its relationship in the piece to both poetic structure and typology. Reiter argues that by focusing the poem around such imagery as “The Brisk Red heifer’s Ashes” and “The Dooves assign’d Burnt” that Taylor is using these examples of blood sacrifice not only to show the superiority of Puritan faith, but also as a way of conducting a kind of introspection or as Reiter refers to it, “inscape”. The hierarchy that Taylor establishes with blood, meaning here the dominance of Christ’s blood over that of the bulls and doves, Reiter believes is directly linked to Taylor’s attempts of understanding his own spiritual well-being. By analyzing Taylor’s use of blood and realizing its importance, Reiter is able to make strong arguments about the overall meaning and importance of the poem, both its poetic structure and its use of typology.
Reiter, Robert E. “Poetry and Typology: Edward Taylor’s ‘Preparatory Meditations’, Second Series, Number 1-30.” Early American Literature, vol. 5, no. 1, 1970, pp.111-123. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25070450.
In the article Edward Taylor and the Momentum of Metaphor author Clark Griffith explains the meaning behind the metaphor of “the Bread of Life” in Taylor’s Meditation 8. To Griffith a reference to the “Bread of Life” has two meanings, the first being “entry into the penitent of Christian grace” and the second as being through partaking in the body of Christ the author (Taylor) is granted with his creative powers of expression. Griffith explains that this metaphor of bread is important to the audience because it links a commonplace item with bigger metaphysical understanding. These simplified metaphors are easy to understand for the audience but Griffith notes that they refer to a bigger meaning of Taylor’s works of the replenishing nature of God’s grace. Griffin also explains that in Mediation 8 contrasted with the “Bread of Life” is “the forbidden fruit of sin”. Griffin says that characterizing the speaker as a “Bird of Paradise” is intentional in the image that the bird “pecks at the fruit… but is replenished by the bread”. The metaphor of the “Bread of Life” refers to the soul’s dependency on a nourishment that only God can provide.
Griffith, Clark. “Edward Taylor and the Momentum of Metaphor.” ELH, vol. 33, no. 4, 1966, pp. 448–460. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2872201.
In the journal article, Edward Taylor’s “Preparatory Meditations:” A Decorum of Imperfection, Charles W. Mignon implies that the phrase of “Crumb of Dust” symbolizes the feelings as to how Edward Taylor sees his attempts as failures–unless God had previously inspired his to create art as an election. Mignon states that Taylor was by design to be a “Crumb of Dust,” and that “Crumb of Dust,” was designed to be a poet whose only purpose was to praise God. The imagery in his works is thought to show Taylor’s praises to God from a human rhetoric. It was also stated that Taylor promoted the worth of God, by being a “Crumb of Dust,” and writing from the excellency of natural objects.
This passage was very interesting to me because Taylor talks of the Lord’s ‘bright beams.’ After doing some looking, I found William J Scheick’s article on the different references to light and optics in this poem. His interpretation of these references is that Taylor is using Aristotelian ideas of optics. Scheick says that Taylor was not completely satisfied with Aristotle’s thoughts. Scheick said, “He evidently believed that Aristotelian optics was accurate concerning lunar reflections, light in nature, and the postlapsarian state of the spiritual eye still undergoing the regenerative process”. He also used the Platonic Theory in his poem. http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.boisestate.edu/stable/pdf/2926284.pdf
In his article “The Puritan Structure of Edward Taylor’s Poetry” E.F Carlisle discusses Edward Taylor’s puritanical writing style. Carlisle begins his article explaining that in Taylor’s comparison of God and man, there is a clear reflection of his Puritan beliefs in the way that Taylor glorifies God and diminishes man. In reference to the prologue of Taylor’s Meditations Carlisle states “The “Prologue” develops at all levels from a very basic contrast of man as dust or as nothing with God as glory or as everything” (Carlisle 153-154). Carlisle goes on to point out specific pieces of the prologue such as “Inspire this crumb of dust…” and uses that as support to his claim that Edward Taylor used his writings to praise God. Taylor believed that the only poetry worth writing or reading was that which was inspired by God. The crumb of dust is what Taylor uses as a metaphor for man, and for God to “inspire” the crumb of dust, is for God to inspire the poet to write.
Carlisle, E.F. “The Puritan Structure of Edward Taylor’s Poetry.” The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Wilson Brissett’s article “Edward Taylor’s Public Devotions” covers this passage. In his article Brissett argues that this passage serves as an opening to Mediation 22. He states that it is important to view these lines in a Puritan point of view rather than clouding our interpretations with modern day judgement. Brissett argues that this passage shows Taylor’s perceived brokenness of the soul in the eyes of the Lord. The first few lines of this passage are a plea from Taylor to God for some sort of assistance in his journey to holiness, claims Brissett. Brissett argues that Taylor is looking for some sort of “transformative” action from God.
<a href=”http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.boisestate.edu/stable/pdf/27750146.pdf?refreqid=search:fd3af0a6fd72dc5e78af04bdb73a8ae1″ rel=”nofollow”>http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.boisestate.edu/stable/pdf/27750146.pdf?refreqid=search:fd3af0a6fd72dc5e78af04bdb73a8ae1</a>
Brissett, Wilson. “Edward Taylor’s Public Devotions.” The University of North Carolina Press, vol. 44, 3 Nov. 2009, pp. 457–487. JSTOR.
In “Edward Taylor: A Puritan ‘Sacred Poet’,” Thomas Johnson provides insight into the qualities that make Edward Taylor’s poetry unique, speculates which authors that Taylor may have taken influence from, and discusses the imagery of “Meditation 38” as an example of Taylor’s carefully crafted use of metaphor. The entirety of the “Sacramental Meditations” is compared to George Herbert’s “The Church-porch,” with its use of iambic pentameter and the tendency to employ metaphysical verse (319-320). Where Taylor uses conceit, he also has the impeccable ability to develop unified metaphor, even if it is at times difficult to decipher (320). In “Meditation 38,” Taylor demonstrates the use of a unified metaphor with the concept of God as the Judge and Jesus as the Attorney, mixed with legal phrases, to “express the covenant idea” (320). The final line of “Meditation 38” is praised for the use of “Waggon Loads of Love” as a “homely metaphor” which connects the concepts of his poetry with the usual experience of the puritans (320). Johnson maintains that Taylor’s “Sacramental Meditations” at times lacks standard poetic quality, but the use of inventive imagery, with its tie to the commonplace, and the ability to fervently express his devotion to God, makes his poetry brilliant and distinctive (317, 321-322).
Johnson, Thomas H. “Edward Taylor: A Puritan ‘Sacred Poet.’” The New England Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 2, 1937, pp. 290–322.
Michael Schuldiner approached Edward Taylor’s Preparatory Meditations as “the first stage of the classical journey of the hero as it had earlier been Christianized” (114). Meditation 22, is an expression of John Calvin’s Doctrine of Assurance in which a converted individual creates a work that they believe is flawed. Due to this thought process, the individual think that “his works are not motivated by regenerate inclinations but by some hidden sin that still inhabits the flesh. It is this sense of sin, which is in a manner persistent throughout the believer’s development, that troubles the conscience” (115). Schuldiner hypothesizes that Taylor is part of this process, incapable of writing a poem on Christ’s Glory without feeling that “his motives for wanting to write of the Glorification may not be entirely in order to glorify God, but rather perhaps in part to further his own worldly ambitions as a poet” (118). Schuldiner uses this specific passage as evidence to his claim, the first three lines most clearly highlight Calvin’s Doctrine of Assurance as Taylor’s desire to glorify God is overshadowed by the fear that he is doing so for his own pride. By relating Taylor’s meditation to Calvin’s doctrine, Shuldiner’s outlook shifts from a stand-alone piece to a piece of a whole that documents the journey of a Christian soul.
Schuldiner, Michael. “The Christian Hero and the Classical Journey in Edward Taylor’s ‘Preparatory Meditations. First Series.’” Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 2, 1986, pp. 113–132. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3817179.
Michael Schuldiner implies that Taylor’s sinful nature was a stumbling block that prevented him from presenting an image of the glory of Christ. Taylor simply struggled to achieve the level of inspiration to recapture the experience, he once had when the light of glory entered his soul at conversion in Meditations 5 through 7. The conversion consisted in the illumination of the mind and regeneration of the will. Furthermore, Schuldiner states that Tylor motives for writing the Meditations was not to glorify God but to fulfill his personal and selfish ambitions as a poet. In addition, Schuldiner perceives Taylor’s act of confessing of sins as denigration. But then in Meditation twenty two Taylor says, “It’s my desire , thou should be glorified:/ But when the glory shines before mine eye,/I pardon Crave, lest my desire be Pride.” Schildiner concluded that Taylor did not reach his spiritual endeavor up until this Meditation because he didn’t recognize his pride in view of the fact that his soul was not entirely regenerated.
Taylor’s meditations follow a formulaic pattern that uses metaphor to emphasize man’s innate depravity, God’s absolute sovereignty, and the idea of the Puritans as the elect chosen of God. In this meditation, he writes of God’s ability to unlock both doors (or locks) and man’s soul. Sin (man’s innate depravity) has rusted the lock to his soul and God, with unerring and unwavering assurance (absolute sovereignty), picks the exact right key to that lock despite possessing thousands of other keys (election) (8-10). Once open to God’s scrutiny, man’s love is shown to be very small, hidden, and like that of a withered apple and refers to man’s unworthiness of redemption (11-12). The metaphors that Taylor uses are humble and pertain to everyday things or occurrences and, according to Michael North, he looks for metaphor wherever he can (North 14). North also points to Taylor’s repeated use of metaphor to signify the importance of the covenant between God and the elect often focusing more intently on the Last Supper. While this meditation does not particularly address this specific covenant, it does center on the ultimate promise of being among God’s chosen people, man being initially unworthy of such a promise, and God’s benevolence in redeeming man from his own innate sin.
Charles W. Mignon’s article, “Diction in Edward Taylor’s Preparatory Meditations” focuses on the diction of Taylor’s poetry, but most importantly what how that diction, and word choice effects the poem. Taylor’s poem seem to me to be doctrinal and reveal his emotional investment and devotion to a transcendent God. Mignon states that, ” Taylor’s theory of the function of language (and accordingly of diction) is religiously motivated: his art is related to his election” (Mignon 1). Edward believed he was one of the elect and God will perfect him through his devotion. For example Edward writes, “Oh! richest Grace! Are thy Rich Veans then tapt /…For Sinners Here to Lavor off (all sapt) / (With Sin) their Sins and Sinfulness away?” (26. 25, 27-28). This rich expression of personal insufficiency shows how God will open his veins and wash away the sins. In order for him to be saved he must have his sins washed away by God. In the final stanza, the poet calls out directly to for his Lord to , “wash me” (26. 31). Mignon reminds readers however that Edwards “art” or poetry and cries to be clean, “cannot be worthy of the praise of God unless it is inspired by God’s grace” (Mignon 1). The entire meditation is motivated by God’s grace. Edwards belief that, “Thy Church, whose floor is paved with Graces bright” is most clear in this final stanza (26. 33). Edward will then sing, “thy praise” which may seem insignificant however there is no better way to show God’s grace than through singing his praise.
Mignon, Charles W. “Diction in Edward Taylor’s ‘Preparatory Meditations.’” American Speech, vol. 41, no. 4, 1966, pp. 243–253.
Parker H. Johnson addresses Taylor’s sentiments in this passage in his article, ‘Poetry and Praise in Edward Taylor’s Preparatory Meditations‘. Specifically, Johnson elaborates on the fierce dichotomy that is evident in this stanza between the glorious resplendence of God and the baseness and unworthiness of the poet, Taylor. Johnson postulates that the Puritan’s despair at being unable to give justice to the majesty of God finds its roots in Calvinistic theology, which he states, “limits metaphoric possibilities” (88) because of man’s total depravity. In Johnson’s words, “The Lord’s glory is simply too overwhelming…[Taylor’s] skill and his desire to praise do not correspond” (88). The painfully self-conscious inadequacy of Taylor’s words, metaphors, analogies and allegories becomes quite clear in the final two lines of the stanza where Taylor laments that his “quaintest metaphors are ragged stuff, / Making the sun seem like a mullipuff” (lines 5-6). Here, we see the concept of disconnected correspondence between God’s glory and man’s insignificance magnified in Taylor’s inability to put the brilliance of God into words. As Johnson put it, Taylor’s best attempts at analogy “only defile and degrade a transcendent subject” (89). Therefore, we see that Taylor’s frustration of living in a state where he is not free to fully express his devotion to his creator as he feels he ought, is deeply rooted in his belief in innate depravity.
Johnson, Parker H. “Poetry and Praise in Edward Taylor’s Preparatory Meditations.” American Literature, vol. 52, no. 1, 1980, pp. 84–96. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2925189.
Norman Grabo refers to this stanza of “Meditation 42 (First Series)” in his article “Edward Taylor’s Spiritual Huswifery” in which he examines the use of the term huswifery throughout Taylor’s poetry. He specifically examines the “holy robes for glory” which refer to the metaphorical robes that are worn upon the soul for glory with the Lord. According to Grabo, the lines “Adorn me, Lord, with Holy Huswifry. / All blanch my Robes with Clusters of Thy Graces” (37-38) refer to the idea of grace, glory, and righteousness being associated with the robes of glory and the individual that wears the robe. The robes of glory are worn around the souls of those of the elect that have been chosen and saved by God. Grabo argues that studying more fully what was meant by Taylor’s use of huswifery and holy robes for glory can offer a better understanding to all of Taylor’s poetry which concerns these terms and ideas.
Grabo, Norman S. “Edward Taylor’s Spiritual Huswifery.” PMLA, vol. 79, no. 5, 1964, pp. 554–560. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/461141.
Edward Taylor has an interesting take on the lords “Last Supper” and for food eaten in memory of the Lord. In the paragraphs before this one in particular, he seems to understand that this supper is eaten in the name of the Lord but then slowly starts to question it saying things that ask why the food is eaten in the Lord’s name when he himself did not bake the bread or physically put the food on the table. In this particular paragraph, he questions why it is so important to eat this food in the first place. As he states, “What Grace is this knead in this Loafe?” meaning was the grace of god baked into this bread, and that is why it is so seemingly special?In an article by James Dave, he suggests that Edward Taylor actually understands the authenticity of the food and what he writes about. How the Lord’s word is in his reality and he actually experiences it everyday in everyday life. I think that Edward Taylor possibly does begin to understand it as he states, “This bread of life dropt in thy mouth, doth cry.” He has learned what the Lord’s meaning is and he will never be able to get enough of it now.
Dave, James. “Edward Taylors: “Meditation 8” http://www.james-dave.com/taylor8.html
Analysis of Taylor’s Preparatory Meditations
In this article, “Diction in Edward Taylor’s Preparatory Meditations” by Charles Mignon studies the Edward Taylor’s diction of his Preparatory Meditations and compares his version of biblical verses to other writers during this time in New England. Charles writes that Taylor’s diction and “function of language is religiously motivated”, since Taylor believes that his writing cannot be “worthy of the praise of God unless it is inspired by God’s grace” (243). Mignon goes into depth with certain words and their difficulty for the readers, contemporary and not, to comprehend them. He dies research on many of Edward Taylor’s words and captions throughout Preparatory Meditations. Words like, “dozde” and “cordillera” which he used in his writing in 1706, but these words weren’t officially illustrated and defined until 1776 and 1808, leaving his readers to infer what he meant by them (250). By studying Taylor’s Diction, Mignon could come to the conclusion that Taylor’s writing has a greater number of difficult words per page than any other writer is this era (253). He decides that it is most likely that Edward Taylor was writing for himself, because the “Puritan context of intelligibility seems irrelevant to him” (253). Edward is motivated by God in his writing, but not in the sense to use his literary work to motivate others to follow God and follow the Puritan lifestyle.
Mignon, Charles W. “Diction in Edward Taylor’s ‘Preparatory Meditations.’” American Speech, vol. 41, no. 4, 1966, pp. 243–253. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/453498.
In Edward Taylor’s poem “Preparatory Meditations” the Prologue contains a lot of content that has subliminal significances. Charles W. Mignon makes some great points in his article, “Edward Taylor’s “Preparatory Meditations:” A Decorum of Imperfection”. Mignon presents the idea that the Prologue speaks about the way Taylor is criticized as a poet and how he has been defined by the American critics. He proceeds to present the theory of Taylors style and the criticism related to it from the English Metaphysicals. Mignon wants to show how Taylor’s attitude and style set him aside from that of the English.
There are many ways in which Taylor views himself as gods instrument to God. He folds onto whatever God asks of him and everything he does he does in his name, “I am this crumb of dust which is designed, to make my pen unto Thy praise alone,”. Here is where Mignon makes his point about Taylor’s attempt to praise God and how he still finds Taylor to be conscious even about “amplification simply because it is by definition human rhetoric.”
The Prologue contains lines that are designs that focus on religion yet are still artistic. It again mentions Taylors awareness and consciousness to there being “A Golden Path” and knows that’s God’s grace is his “Golden Wrack”. The point is made often the Taylor is conscious in knowing the connection between being on the path to salvation a religious life and being a religious vessel or tool to practice what is preached. The argument is brought up that Taylor is simply just trying to guide through the metaphors in the piece.
Mignon goes onto say that the entire poem “Preparatory Meditations” shows a massive tissue of meiosis of diminishing images… The big statement made in the article is that of Taylor being painfully aware of the gap between himself and God and that the only way to be connected is through Gods side that one individual can’t reach out to God. God has to reach out first.
Mignon, Charles W. “Edward Taylor’s “Preparatory Meditations:” A Decorum of Imperfection.” , Modern Language Association, 23 Oct. 2007. Jstor. Accessed 1 Jan. 2018. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1261315
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February 1, 2018 at 11:58 am
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In Charles Brockden Brown’s article, “The Difference between History and Romance” he writes about the novel, Wieland, and the relationship that the novel has between history and romance. He explains how history and romance are intertwined and how imperfections of man are part of our future, present, and past. In this paragraph, Clara is overtaken by her senses of this man, “I count among the most extraordinary incidents of my life”. Clara is an irrational character taken over by romantic ideas. Her history and her future are based on her emotional decisions. There is no separation between the two. Brockden Brown writes, “when busy in assigning motives to actions, are not historians but romancers.” Which relates directly to what is happening to Clara in this passage. When talking about history, it is the “noting and recording of the actions of men” which I think is very important because mankind is often if not always driven by passion and emotion. This also plays well with the strong theme of passion and emotion that is current throughout Wieland and all the characters.
Barnard, Philip, and Stephen Shapiro, editors. “The Difference Between History and Romance.” Wieland or the Transformation, with Related Texts, by Charles Brockden Brown, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2009, pp. 195–198.
April 27, 2018 at 11:10 pm
This passage is very focused on individualism, Franklin seems to be looking at the better things in his life instead of focusing on the negative. He doesn’t dwell on the idea that he wish he lived life without committing fault instead he touches on it and shifts into how he’s basically glad with how he’s lived life. In “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” Steven Forde presents the idea that Franklin Autobiography should be used as a model of developing good character and morals. Franklin states, “conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection”, but soon realizes that he had, “undertaken a task of more difficulty than he had imagined.” Forde believes, “each of the loopholes… is deliberate”. The loopholes represent another idea, that being that when striving for greater morality the individual must also take all aspects of life in consideration and be reasonable. Forbes introduces another idea, “If Franklin had viewed virtue more strictly, he might have been forced to give up on it”.
Forde, Steven. “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” The American Political Science Review, vol. 86, no. 2, 1992, pp. 357–368. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1964225.
April 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm
In her article “What’s Wrong With Charlotte Temple” Marion Rust addresses Charlotte’s passions as well as her inability to make decisions and relates it to her overall fall from her position in society. Rust uses this paragraph as an example of Charlotte’s indecisiveness. Here it is exemplified that Charlotte can’t even make a simple decision on her own. She has to reach out to her mentor in order to decide what to even do with something as simple as a written letter. Rust catapults off this point by claiming that Charlotte’s future will continue to be unguided and spiral downward farther than she already has. Rust bases this claim on the idea that Charlotte will not be able to support herself because she is always looking to some one outside herself to guide her through obstacles.
Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3491497.
April 27, 2018 at 4:16 pm
Andrew Scheiber’s article “The Arm Lifted against Me”: Love, Terror and the Construction of Gender in “Wieland” explores Clara’s gendered role in Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland. Scheiber points to patterns of Clara’s marginalization and enclosure throughout the story, specifically in relation to her role in the context of the familial structure of the story’s plot. Scheiber explains that, “though the Age of Reason invites her to identify herself with the life of the mind, Clara is barred by her womanhood from fully achieving such an identification, since the gender ideology of the times defines the intellect as secondary rather than primary, to the essence of “feminine” nature” (Schieber 178) which is an interesting perspective considering the emphasis on reason and intellect throughout the story, and the fact that Clara is the primary protagonist of the story. Schieber claims that when Clara questions the audience, “was I not likewise transformed from rational and human into a creature of nameless and fearful attributes” (Brown 137) that she is exposing her “self-condemnation” that is born out of the gendered system that relates “rational” and “human” on the masculine side of gender axis, and the negation of those qualities to the feminine side of the axis.
Brown, Charles Brockden, Philip Barnard, and Stephen Shapiro. Wieland ; or the Transformation. An American Tale with Related Texts. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009. Print.
Scheiber, Andrew J. “‘The Arm Lifted against Me’: Love, Terror, and the Construction of Gender in ‘Wieland.’” Early American Literature, vol. 26, no. 2, 1991, pp. 173–194.
April 27, 2018 at 4:07 pm
In his article, entitled ‘Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture’, scholar Robert A. Ferguson examines the character of Rip Van Winkle in depth and identifies some of the key flaws that keep this iconic figure of early American Folklore in conversation to this day. One of the flaws identified in Ferguson’s article is the issue of drink, which is brought up in the selected paragraph. Ferguson argues that Rip’s problems with being a “naturally thirsty soul” can be attributed to and explain his lack of success in life: “Habitual drinking keeps him from the steady application that every good farm requires” (533). This explanation of Rip’s tendency to ‘bum around’ aligns to the events of the story, as well as illuminating a reason why he continues to be a influential character in American literature. According to Ferguson, “We value Rip most of all because we find something of our own foibles in him, not because we worry about drink or because we fear an encounter with Heinrich Hudson when we enter the Kaatskill Mountains. Rip’s faults…are our own bad habits carried to extremes. Irving keeps to the lighter side of these extremes” (533-534). Through the relatable aspects and complexities of Rip’s character, readers throughout the years are enabled, through Irving’s lighthearted storytelling, to return to this original American folktale with as timeless a perspective as the readers who scanned the first print-warmed lines of this work.
Ferguson, Robert A. “Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture.” Early American Literature, vol. 40, no. 3, 2005, pp. 529–544. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25057421.
April 27, 2018 at 3:46 pm
In “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity” by Blythe Forcey, it is said that the motherly affection of the narrator is what really makes this story relatable. I found this article to be interesting because I think that it very true. I think the way that the narrator acts in a motherly way really helps the story along. Forcey states, “Early American readers were able, as they read this novel, to live through a nightmare of dislocation, alienation, and abandonment that mapped their worst fears. But, guided by the careful and caring narrative of Mrs. Rowson, they emerged safe and unscathed, with all troubling ambiguities and terrors temporarily put to rest” (227-228). I think this is a very important quote because it makes you, as the reader, realize just how good of an author Susana Rowson truly was. To be able to make her readers feel safe even during a scary time, all due to the way this story is narrated. Forcey also states, “The motherly character of Rowson’s narrative voice is evident from her first addresses to the reader… Thus she offers, quite explicitly, to stand in for those ‘natural friends’ that the reader might have lost and to protect them from the horrors of the world” (228). I think this is a very important statement as well. Forcey makes it clear that even from the very first sentence of this story, Susana Rowson manages to take our hand and make us feel safe.
Forcey, Blythe. “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity.” American Literature, vol. 63, no. 2, 1991, pp. 225–241. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2927163.
April 27, 2018 at 3:45 pm
I also really loved this line. The Earth is the beginning and the end of the cycle of life, and that gets so overlooked in our day to day struggles. Nature and death are like you said, both important parts of the cycle of life. The connection being made in these two lines applies to most of what we have studied through the semester in this class. Even the puritans had themes of nature as a part of their beliefs. Nature and death are the two things that connect humanity because no human on Earth can avoid either one of these things. We will all die and become a part of nature once more, because that is how we began the cycle.
April 27, 2018 at 3:12 pm
Within this passage, we witness the first instance of Charlotte beginning to distrust her own instincts. While at the party she was led to believe would be fun and entertaining, she realizes that being obedient and staying home would have been better than sneaking out with La Rue. As the story progresses we see Charlotte trust those instincts less and, according to Marion Rust’s article “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple'”, her behavior becomes increasingly described as some “form of collapse, in which her future direction is determined by nothing more deliberate than her center of gravity.” This continual falling down that Charlotte experiences effectively acts to demonstrate Rowson’s commentary on the unreliability of young women’s own moral character and how they are insufficiently able to stand up to the force of external moral corruption.
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Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118.
April 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm
Throughout her essay, “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself”, Cath N. Davidson expresses the aspects which make the text so significant. She explains the strength of emotion that is brought because the narrative is told from Equiano himself. She also expresses that the non-traditional storytelling is what makes it interesting and evokes emotion throughout. Davidson ultimately points out that, “Many aspects of the text make it significant, but especially impressive is it expansive reach” (19). His story is told in many parts of the world and allows readers to feel this narrative from place to place based on his narrating abilities. For example, Equiano himself states “in the preceding chapter I have set before the reader a few of those many instances of oppression, extortion, and cruelty, which I have been a witness to in the West Indies”. As readers have been taken from place to place Equiano stops to show the places he’s been and the things he’s seen. Davidson also points out the emotion-evoking tones and voice used by Equiano. Addressing the many aspects of the text Davidson writes, The text combines (in unequal parts) slave narrative, sea yarn, military adventure, ethnographic reportage, historical fiction, travelogue, picaresque saga, sentimental novel, allegory, tall tale, pastoral origins myth, gothic romance, conversion tale, and abolitionist tract, with different features coming to the fore at different times, and the mood vacillating accordingly” (20). His slave trade journey was terrible and cruel; as readers see Equiano journey from place to place they empathize with him more and begin to realize the terrible conditions in which he was under. The narrative of Equiano become more and more effective for readers because of the places Equiano takes us and the voice he uses to evoke that emotion out of readers.
Davidson, Cathy N. “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 40, no. 1/2, 2006, pp. 18–51. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40267683.
April 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm
According to William Pencak, author of “Benjamin Franklin’s Biography, Cotton Mather, and a Puritan God,” in this paragraph, Franklin is defending the stakes on which he wrote his autobiography, as well as defending his own morality. Franklin was very dedicated to his moral standing with himself and God and went through extreme measures to ensure that he would end up on the ‘right’ side of things. This particular passage is about the ‘justification of his book’ which ‘illustrates an important philosophical point: the need for ideal principles, realized in practice, to subdue “Natural Inclination,” as well as the bad effects of, “Custom and Company” (Pencak 8). The ‘artifice’ that Franklin describes represents the civilization of people that he is surrounded by and he believes that they should be informed of his knowledge, life, and commitment to God. Franklin didn’t believe that being religious meant attending church, donating to pastors, or things alike. It was about believing in God, Praying honestly, and being virtuous. Throughout this autobiography, Franklin defends and justifies his beliefs and morality.
Pencak, William. “BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, COTTON MATHER, AND A PURITAN GOD.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, vol. 53, no. 1, 1986, pp. 1–25. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27773087.
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