Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Stereotypes

"As Napoleon once said 'What is history, but a fable agreed upon?'" ~ Dan Brown

Looking at History through the lens of what people chose to write about is an increasingly interesting pursuit for me.  Sometimes the descriptions surrounding a particular writer or an era of writing speak to me of our own times.  Today in an American Literature book, I was fascinated to read that not all Puritans, in fact many Puritans, did not fit the stereotype of a Puritan that I have essentially been taught since childhood.  

I was surprised to read this in an introduction:  "Puritans in general were lovers of life, their clergy were well-educated scholars in whom the Renaissance lamp of humanism still burned.  They did not forbid gaily colored clothes if they could get them..."  This passage did not neglect to mention that there were indeed harsh things that happened within Puritan culture, but that was not the entire story.  It said that many Puritans even drank in moderation, enjoyed the arts and made several advances in education that we tend not to think about (like creating Harvard).

History is far more nuanced than we tend to know.

 

Tree photo by Susan Larison Danz.

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