On the Pilgrims

Having heard so much about the pilgrims, as virtually all American children did and do, they are a pretty overdetermined category for me. I have a hard time separating their myth from their history, even still. And I never really made the connection between their religious culture and that which committed the Salem Witch trials until much later in my life, and I didn’t understand anything of King Philip’s War until even later than that.

Making Haste from Babylon and another book called Mayflower, however, might make a difference. The advantage to the former, it seems, is that it discusses their place within English culture at the time, before they left home; this aspect of their history has never been made clear to me. Were they a little band of nobodies, or did their leaving actually have some political importance? More, it might seem, the latter–though I haven’t read the books yet to know! Does anyone have any more suggestions?


Author: Derrick Pitard

I teach medieval and early modern literature, the history of the language, introductions to literature, Latin, and writing at Slippery Rock University.

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