Decadent American Literature

The Textual Wilderness

“The antinomian controversy
was the primordial struggle
of North American literary
expression.” —Susan Howe,
The Birth-Mark

North America—gendered feminine
Poetry banished—by Cotton Mather
That MA Bay Colony—old queen

Text is always—being tamed
Tamed for—textual production
Tamed for—aesthetic consumption

Tamed like—Emily Dickinson exiled
Deep in the stacks—away from readers
Beinecke Library—Princeton New Jersey

Prisoner of Zenda—Rare Book Rooms
Editors like Johnson and Franklin
Magnalia Christi—americana

Anne Hutchinson—exiled too
Mary Rowlandson—Sylva Plath
Captive narratives—lost in time

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