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Invisible Masters
Gender, Race, and the Economy of Service in Early New England
Elisabeth Ceppi

Not yet released.
Publication date: July 3, 2018


Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies

Dartmouth
2018 • 304 pp. 6 x 9"
Colonial History / Social History / New England History

$45.00 Paperback, 978-1-5126-0296-8
$95.00 Hardcover, 978-1-5126-0295-1

$44.99 Ebook, 978-1-5126-0297-5

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Hardcover is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)



Can one serve both God and mammon?

Invisible Masters rewrites the familiar narrative of the relation between Puritan religious culture and New England’s economic culture as a history of the primary discourse that connected them: service. The understanding early Puritans had of themselves as God’s servants and earthly masters was shaped by their immersion in an Atlantic culture of service and the worldly pressures and opportunities generated by New England’s particular place in it. Concepts of spiritual service and mastery determined Puritan views of the men, women, and children who were servants and slaves in that world. So, too, did these concepts shape the experience of family, labor, law, and economy for those men, women, and children—the very bedrock of their lives. This strikingly original look at Puritan culture will appeal to a wide range of Americanists and historians.

Reviews / Endorsements



"Ceppi integrates a range of communities and identity categories in demonstrating the meanings, implications, and complications of the phrase “servants of the Lord,” a central metaphor or Puritan life, that draws the inextricable connections that tie together various discursive systems and cultures. . . . A fabulous work of scholarship.” —James Egan, author of Oriental Shadows: The Presence of the East in Early American Literature

“The relationship between economy and religion, commerce and piety, has long fascinated historians. In this wise and subtle exploration of the culture of service in Puritan New England, Elisabeth Ceppi teaches us both the true depth of meaning in the familiar expression “work ethic,” and the centrality of mastering others to mastering oneself. ”—Christopher Tomlins, University of California, Berkeley



ELISABETH CEPPI is an associate professor of English at Portland State University.



Fri, 16 Feb 2018 15:34:44 -0500