This book is lavish in its criticisms of gallant attempts by scholars of early America to deal with the classical learning (Latin and Greek quotations, mythological allusions, references to ancient history, and the like) embellishing early modern texts from and about early New England. The goddess Nemesis is surely summoning those and other Americanists and early modernists to punish without mercy the blunders that a classical scholar has inevitably made in his reckless intrusion into the trackless forests and dense thickets of the history of early British America, as well as into such teeming swamps as the religious controversies and the intricacies of the book trade in early seventeenth-century Britain and New England. Accordingly I am grateful to those specialists who have patiently given me advice and answered my queries, thereby appreciably reducing (though not eliminating) this project’s inevitable vulnerabilities. Their help reminds me of the generosity shown me by colonial Latin Americanists during my work on what I regard as a companion volume to this one: Romans in a New World: Classical Models in Sixteenth-Century Spanish America (University of Michigan Press, 2003). I wish I could say that we classical scholars tend to be as welcoming to interlopers as these scholars of early modernity have consistently been to me.
The early Americanist to whom I owe my greatest debt of gratitude is Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, Director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum. My debt to him dates back to 2009, when I eagerly acquired and avidly read his just published magisterial volume Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners: Leiden and the Foundations of Plymouth Plantation, a book that immensely deepened and sharpened my nascent knowledge of the Leiden/Plymouth Separatists. Since then I have regularly learned from the work of this scholar who is generally acknowledged as the living possessor of the widest and most accurate knowledge of the Pilgrims, both in their Leiden years and in Plymouth Colony. The appearance in 2016 of his extremely useful and groundbreaking Plymouth Colony’s Private Libraries emboldened me to make direct contact with him at last. This led to a highly fruitful correspondence, resulting, among many other benefits to me, in his reading of a complete draft of the book over the course of several months. His detailed comments on my work and his industrious rooting out of errors have proved invaluable to me, as have his numerous and usually successful attempts to improve my clotted and mannered prose style. Since then, he has repeatedly come to my aid in the course of revision. Naturally, not every error in a manuscript of this wearying length could have caught his eye, and I have surely committed several new blunders
Two other scholars have generously and patiently read an entire late draft: the fine Hispanist and early modernist Elise Bartosik-Vélez of Dickinson College and the deeply learned classicist and specialist in reception studies Elizabeth Vandiver of Whitman College. I am grateful to both for their many suggestions in points of detail and in stylistic matters. At the last minute, I was also lucky to secure the sharp eye of Lawrence Woodlock, fellow Stanford PhD in Classics. I also wish to thank several scholars who have read and improved portions of the manuscript at several stages of its progress: Douglas Anderson of the University of Georgia, Andrew Laird of the University of Warwick (now of Brown University), and Amy M.E. Morris and Maya Feile Tomes of Cambridge University. I have also profited from many exchanges and mutual progress reports with Donna Watkins, whose book on the unfortunate matricide Alice Bishop investigates very different recesses of Plymouth Colony from those into which my book ventures.
The learned and versatile Swiss early modernist and Roman historian Benjamin Straumann of nyu has progressed over the years from author of a review-essay on my Latin American book to collaborator on an edition and translation of Alberico Gentili’s 1599 Wars of the Romans to friend and wise advisor on a book that will not, he is disappointed to learn, be entitled Elephants of Wit. Another constant source of support and invigorating model of the life of the mind during my work on this book has been James J. O’Donnell, a giant of Augustinian and late antique studies who is no less at home with Proust and Montaigne, two writers who have refreshed the leisure hours I have stolen from this project.
I am grateful to a number of early modernists and classicists for prompt and efficient help in solving a number of puzzles and for offering encouragement. Among them are Frank Bremer, Katherine Eggert, John Gallucci, Robin Hamilton, Tom Keeline, Jeffrey Todd Knight, Elisabeth Leedham-Green, Maureen E. Mulvihill, Luna Nájera, Aaron T. Pratt, Sarah van den Berg, Abram Van Engen, Haijo Westra, and David Scott Wilson-Okamura. David D. Hall deserves special thanks for going well out of his way to assist a pesky and quite unknown poacher at a decisive early stage of this project. I also thank the two anonymous readers of the manuscript secured by Brill, as well as the series editors
This project was begun in the supportive environment of the Classics Department of the University of Puget Sound, and I thank my former colleagues Bill Barry, Aislinn Melchior, and Eric Orlin for their encouragement and support—and also Bill Breitenbach of the History Department. I also thank Christine Dowd, the interlibrary loan librarian of Collins Library. After my retirement from Puget Sound in 2012, I enjoyed the congenial company of a second academic home, the Classics Department of Whitman College: Dana Burgess, Kate Shea, and Elizabeth Vandiver—and I thank as well Sharon Alker, Adam Gordon, Chris Leise, and Mary Raschko of the Whitman English Department. I am also grateful to Jen Pope, the indefatigable interlibrary loan librarian of Whitman’s Penrose Library. And I thank Sharon Alker and Theresa DiPasquale for lobbying to secure for Penrose a subscription to Early English Books Online, without which this book could not have been written.
The first full draft of this book achieved completion in the inspiring setting of the Bodleian Library during a six-month stay in Oxford in 2014–5. For their hospitality and encouragement over the course of those months, I thank in particular Christopher Pelling, then Regius Professor of Greek at Christ Church College, and Matthew Leigh of St. Anne’s. I also thank the staff of the Bodleian Library—and also of the British Library, where much of the process of final revision took place in the spring of 2017.
I owe special thanks to the staff of the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston (especially Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook and Sabina Beauchard) over the course of two visits (in 2011 and 2016) for facilitating my access to manuscripts of William Bradford. I am grateful to mhs for permission to quote from those documents and for reproduction permission for the cover art. At Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, home of William Brewster’s copy of Thomas Lodge’s translation of the prose works of Seneca, I was generously aided in 2011 by Stephen O’Neill, then Associate Director and Curator of Collections, and in 2016 by Rebecca Piccirillo, Archivist. My thanks to phm for permission to quote from notations in the Seneca. I am also grateful to Karin Goldstein, Curator of Collections and Library at Plimoth Plantation (as well as to Megan O’Hern, an intern). I also wish to thank Nancy O’Rourke, Executive Assistant of the Plymouth County Commissioners’ Office, for very efficient and coolheaded help to an exhausted scholar who stumbled her way on a very hot August afternoon in 2016.
My deepest debt of gratitude throughout my work on this project has been to Elizabeth Vandiver, my companion in the early stages, now my wife. Her own concurrent work on classical receptions in British World War i poetry and
As always, I have been sustained by the interest taken in my work by my two wonderful children, Antonio and Sonia.