Programs > Academic Programs

Academic Seminars


Unauthorizing Texts:
Puritan Notetaking and Sermon Publication


Meredith Neuman

(associate professor of English, Clark University)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009, at 4:30 p.m.
Elmarion Room, Goddard-Daniels House
190 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts

PRÉCIS: The production of sermons in seventeenth-century New England was a distinctly communal effort. Examination of extant sermon notebooks suggests that clergy and laity found themselves equally engaged in the recording and dissemination of sermon literature. Comparisons between manuscript and print sources reveal no fixed progression from oral performance to publication. Rather, the world of sermon literature functioned more like an ecosystem in which oral, aural, manuscript, and print texts coexisted and each form drew meaning from the others. Seventeenth-century New England sermon culture proves particularly instructive in challenging criteria for what constitutes an "authoritative" text and in questioning how we construct the sovereignty of authorship.


Refreshments will be provided after the paper, which will be followed by a dutch-treat dinner in Worcester. If you plan to attend, please notify Ann-Cathrine Rapp at AAS no later than Friday, October 23. Email her at arapp[at], or go to the calendar and electronic registration form.

The Society regrets that it is unable to make refunds after that date.

Reservations are suggested (and deeply appreciated) for attending the seminar. Reservations are required to attend the supper.