College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)
Samuel C Smith
American History, American Literature, Anne Bradstreet, New England, Puritan, Women Writers
Arts and Humanities | Cultural History | History | Intellectual History | United States History | Women's History
Farthing, Sophia, "Faith and Art: Anne Bradstreet’s Puritan Creativity" (2018). Masters Theses. 516.
As one of Puritanism’s best-known Puritan writers, Anne Bradstreet is a popular topic for scholars exploring gender issues in a Puritan context. Bradstreet’s poetry has drawn attention to the possibility of Puritan theology as inspiration for art. However, misunderstanding of Puritan cultural complexity and cursory readings of Bradstreet’s texts have resulted in misrepresentations of Bradstreet’s interaction with Puritan culture and ideas. This thesis examines Bradstreet’s life and work, including the variety of supportive literary influences she experienced as a child. The historical value of Bradstreet’s texts is made clear by her poetic insight on political issues, history, and gender conflict, as well as her meditations on God’s presence in personal suffering. Throughout, this essay compares Bradstreet to contemporary Puritan women writers who explored similar themes through poetry, meditations, theological treatises, and a variety of other genres. Against this backdrop of female Puritan voices, Bradstreet’s Puritanism becomes the inspiration for her creativity.