and New England Despair’ Lecture is Jan. 26
By Erika Mantz, Media Relations
John McWilliams will present Abolition and New England Despair Thursday,
January 26, in MUB Theater 1. The lecture, part of the Center for
New England Culture’s Heritage New Hampshire Lecture Series,
begins at 12:45 p.m. and will be followed by discussion and a reception.
It is free and open to the public.
McWilliams’ lecture will explore New England’s complex
traditions of freedom and regional pride that fueled abolitionist
rhetoric before the Civil War. The decline of New England political
power in this era may have fueled the powerful and violent rhetoric
of New Englanders. McWilliams draws on a wide range of New England
writers, including Thoreau, Garrison, Child, Beecher, and Emerson,
and he traces the development of radical abolitionism in the region.
McWilliams published New England’s Crises and Cultural Memory,
a wide-ranging study of the development of New England’s influential
cultural identity. Through written responses to historical crises
from early New England through the pre-Civil War period, he argues
that the meaning of “New England,” despite claims for
its consistency, was continuously reformulated. Integrating history,
literature, politics, and religion, this is one of the most comprehensive
studies of the meaning of “New England” to appear in print.
McWilliams is Abernethy Professor of American Literature at Middlebury
College in Vermont. He is the author of Political Justice in a Republic:
James Fenimore Cooper’s America, Hawthorne, Melville and the
American Character: A Looking-Glass Business and The American Epic:
Transforming a Genre.
The Center for New England Culture’s Heritage New Hampshire
Lecture Series is supported by an endowment from Heritage New Hampshire.
The series annually presents lectures on the images, people, and places
of New England, featuring the best of contemporary scholarship on
the region. For more information, contact David H. Watters, 2-0353