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John Smith Essays

“America was the place Smith had dreamed of his whole life. There, his character, determination, and ambition had propelled him to the top of society. [. . .] [H]e pointed the way for others, who were drawn by the dream that opportunity was here for anyone who dared seize it,” write Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler on the cover of their book Captain John Smith: Jamestown and the American Dream. Thus, John Smith was an important person with regard to the Jamestown settlement. He encouraged people to move to New England by adducing some of its advantages for example the possibility of improving their standard of living in the new colony. Scholars argue that Smith also addressed the dangers associated with colonization. In The General History of Virginia, for example, he described the passage to America as one fraught of danger, where a great number of men died due to sickness and lack of food and water. The promotional style used by Smith in A Description of New England and his praise for the colony in this text, however, support the thesis that his primary intention was to attract the attention of the British people to the new colony in America.

Among scholars of early American literature Captain, John Smith is known as “[a]n energetic promoter of the potential of [the] new region” in America (“Smith” 57). Concerning the advertising and diverting quality of his writings, they can be assigned to the unique genre of Promotional Literature, in which authors mix reality and fiction in order to expedite the settlement in America (Schramm 70). As Myra Jehlen says this genre is aimed at “mak[ing] readers dream in order to persuade them to act” (33). The authors try to appeal to the people and convince them to move to New England. As readers, we are left somewhat confused because promotional works are eye-witness accounts where the authors deliberately use a lot of exaggerations and euphemisms.

In A Description of New England, John Smith used this kind of writing and provided a number of reasons for living in the new settlement. First, he called on the religious sensibilities of the British people by characterizing the country as a region created “by Gods blessing” (Smith 31). For this reason, he depicted America as the paradise on earth in his writings. As scholar Joseph Lemay maintains, Smith saw New England as “Garden of Eden” (Lemay 83). Furthermore, Smith made regular references to the Bible to argue that the immigrants could continue the work of “Noe” (sic Smith 59) and “Abraham” (Smith 60) by opening new possibilities for the coming generations in New England. The new country also offered opportunities for people who wanted to be left in peace when practicing their faith, instead of being subjected to “religious persecution” (Schramm 70) in England.


Early American Literature

Description: The journal of the Modern Language Association's American Literature Division I, Early American Literature publishes the finest work of scholars examining American literature from its inception through the early national period, about 1830. Founded in 1965, EAL invites work treating Native American traditional expressions, colonial Ibero-American literature from North America, colonial American Francophone writings, Dutch colonial, and German American colonial literature as well as writings in English from British America and the US. Published three times a year, each issue typically includes four or five articles, the same number of book reviews, and a review essay. Occasionally editions of previously unpublished works appear.

Coverage: 1968-2016 (Vol. 3, No. 2 - Vol. 51, No. 3)

Moving Wall: 1 year (What is the moving wall?)

The "moving wall" represents the time period between the last issue available in JSTOR and the most recently published issue of a journal. Moving walls are generally represented in years. In rare instances, a publisher has elected to have a "zero" moving wall, so their current issues are available in JSTOR shortly after publication.
Note: In calculating the moving wall, the current year is not counted.
For example, if the current year is 2008 and a journal has a 5 year moving wall, articles from the year 2002 are available.

Terms Related to the Moving Wall
Fixed walls: Journals with no new volumes being added to the archive.
Absorbed: Journals that are combined with another title.
Complete: Journals that are no longer published or that have been combined with another title.

ISSN: 00128163

EISSN: 1534147X

Subjects: Language & Literature, American Studies, Area Studies, Humanities

Collections: Arts & Sciences V Collection

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