30 September 2009

Not many of the students knew the allusion, alas, but...

From Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates (Riverhead Books, 2008), an insightful (and very funny) examination of the 17th-century Puritans in America:

[John Winthrop and Roger Williams] personify what would become the fundamental conflict of American life – between public and private, between the body politic ad the individual, between we the people and each person’s pursuit of happiness. At his city-on-the-hill best Winthrop is Pete Seeger, gathering a generation around the campfire to sing their shared folk songs. Williams is Bob Dylan plugging in at Newport, making his own noise (128-129)

As Vowell writes shortly before:

In his tormented, lonesome, obsessive, Calvinist way, [Roger Williams] is free. I find him hard to like, but easy to love (127).

No comments:

Post a Comment