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Folded Selves
Colonial New England Writing in the World System
Michelle Burnham

Available only as an ebook.

Reencounters with Colonialism: New Perspectives on the Americas

2007 • 232 pp. 6 halftone illus. 6 x 9"
Colonial History / New England History

$7.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-684-5

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“…[T]his well-researched, well-argued, and well-written book succeeds in its ambition to shift our understanding of familiar texts and controversies…Burnhams' discussions remain fruitfully and respectfully engaged with a wide range of scholarship.”—New England Quarterly

A new evaluation of New England’s literature of dissent in works by early English settlers in America

Folded Selves radically refigures traditional portraits of seventeenth-century New England literature and culture by situating colonial writing within the spatial, transnational, and economic contexts that characterized the early-modern “world system” theorized by Immanuel Wallerstein and others. Michelle Burnham rethinks American literary history and the politics of colonial dissent, and her book breaks new ground in making the economic relations of investment, credit, and trade central to this new framework for early American literary and cultural study.

Transcontinental colonialism and mercantile capitalism underwrote not just the emerging world system but New World writing—suggesting that early modern literary aesthetics and the early modern economy helped to sponsor each other. Burnham locates in New England’s literature of dissent—from Ma-re Mount to the Salem witchcraft trials – a persistent use of economic language, as well as competing economies of style. The brilliance of Burnham’s study is that it exposes the transoceanic material and commercial concerns of colonial America’s literature and culture of dissent.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Burnham throws new light on well-known texts and events (of seventeenth-century New England) in this interesting and well-conceived book. Her interest in economic tensions allows her to redefine the ways in which these are read and to reveal new ways of understanding them . . . .”—Journal of American Studies

“Michelle Burnham's Folded Selves: New England Writing in the World System is one of the works that will help redefine twenty-first century colonial American studies, especially as it speaks to current concerns for locating American Studies within a wider geographical and intellectual perspective. Her first monograph, Captivity and Sentiment (1997), was quickly recognized for its useful consideration of sentimental discourses throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and with the increased deft of Folded Selves, Burnham reveals herself as a scholar whose personal development gauges her discipline's collective strength. Beyond the substance of the monograph's arguments, Burnham's writing style also merits praise. Her chapters are an ideal prose for their legibility, balance of textual readings against conceptual frameworks, and concision. Any contemporary graduate student, regardless of her or his specialty, would do well to study them as a model of forensic equipoise.”
Early American Literature

“Tightly argued, the book presents a brilliant rereading of the colonial literature of New England . . . the book stands as the most significant contribution from literary criticism so far to the recent 'Atlantic' approach to the history of colonial New England.”The International History Review

“Fresh and insightful. . . . Burnham’s contention that many New England texts are intrinsically more economic than is generally noted by modern critics is convincing. . . . Burnham’s well-argued and accessibly written reinterpretations form an excellent resource for teaching and research.”William and Mary Quarterly

"Writers in New England were always aware, Michelle Burnham demonstrates, of their implication in an emerging world system of trade that directly impacted their social experiments, theological debates, and relations with indigenous populations. . . [Burnham's] attention to the nuances of style and its interplay with economics produces new and engaging readings of familiar seventeenth-century texts."—
American Literature

MICHELLE BURNHAM is Associate Professor of English at Santa Clara University. She is the author of Captivity and Sentiment (UPNE, 1997).

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:07:48 -0500