Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World (Hardback)
  • Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World (Hardback)

Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World (Hardback)

Hardback 334 Pages / Published: 22/03/2012
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Autobiographical narrative is seldom viewed as a catalyst for the social and political upheavals of mid-seventeenth-century England and its colonies. Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World argues that it should be. Focusing on the inward search for signs of election as a powerful stimulus for new, written forms of self-identification, this study directs critical attention toward the collective processes through which 'truthful' texts of spiritual experience were constructed, validated, and endorsed. This new analysis of the rhetoric of authentic selfhood emphasizes the ways in which personal accounts of religious awakening became another opportunity to conceptualize experience as an authorizing principle. A broad spectrum of Protestant life-writing is explored, from Augustine's Confessions, first translated into English in 1620, through John Bunyan's Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666) and Richard Baxter's Reliquiae Baxterianae (1696). The forms in which these landmark texts were circulated and the interests that those circulations served are examined in such a way as to put canonical texts back into conversation with the outpouring of individual life writings that dates from the middle of the 17th century on. As the first new historicized account of the seventeenth-century Protestant conversion narrative in a generation, Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World contributes to the reintegration of the scholarly fields of literature, religion, and politics. It revitalizes the study of proto-literary forms which, while devotional in nature, were deeply political in their consequences, contributing as they did to the emerging discourse of personal liberties.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199643936
Number of pages: 334
Weight: 532 g
Dimensions: 221 x 146 x 24 mm

This is a significant contribution to the study of the literature, politics, and religion of England, New England, and Ireland in the seventeenth century, and the multitude of illuminating details and surprising but suggestive connections on offer should stimulate the thinking of any reader interested in these fields. * David Parry, The Cambridge Quarterly *
Kathleen Lynch's enriching account of Protestant autobiography not only returns these narratives of interiority to the fraught social world in which they were composed and read; it also strengthens a growing interest in seeing printers, publishers and booksellers as active, creative, ideologically driven agents. * Adam Smyth, Times Literary Supplement *
an important and convincing contribution to this new stage of the debate about the origins and evolution of life-writing in early modernity. * Crawford Gribben, Journal of Northern Renaissance *
Lynch excels both at providing insightful, nuanced close readings of these autobiographical narratives and at situating them within the larger book trade of which they were a part ... Providing an important new assessment of early modern autobiographical writing, transatlantic religious politics, and the history of the book, Lynch's study will be a highly valuable resource for scholars in these fields. * Michelle M. Dowd, Journal of British Studies *
This is a fascinating study of Protestant autobiographies printed during the seventeenth century by English authors in the Atlantic world. * Retha M. Warnicke, Journal of Ecclesiastical History *
rewarding and important study, which sets new methodological standards for the study of life-writing in and beyond the early modern period. * Katrin Ettenhuber, The Seventeenth Century *

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