Since the first permanent English colony was established at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 and accounts of the new world started to arrive back on the English shores, English men and women have had a fascination with their transatlantic neighbours and the landscape they inhabit. In this excellent study, Catherine Armstrong looks at the wealth of literature written by settlers of the new colonies, adventurers and commentators back in England, that presented this new world to early modern Englanders. A vast amount of original literature is examined including travel narratives, promotional literature, sermons, broadsides, ballads, plays and journals, to investigate the intellectual links between mother-country and colony. Representations of the climate, landscape, flora and fauna of North America in the printed and manuscript sources are considered in detail, as is the changing understanding of contemporaries in England of the colonial settlements being established in both Virginia and New England, and how these interpretations affected colonial policy and life on the ground in America. The book also recreates the context of the London book trade of the seventeenth century and the networks through which this literature would have been produced and transmitted to readers. This book will be valuable to those with interests in colonial history, the Atlantic world, travel literature, and historians of early modern England and North America in general.
’… concise but well-stocked book… Armstrong's painstaking research uncovers much intriguing information about how Englishmen viewed their new discoveries… the bibliography is superb.’ Sharp News ’The book is a very good read and has something to offer all of us who are interested in travel literature, the history of texts and reading, and in the comparison of the expressed hopes and the realities of the early settlers and their contemporaries.’ Terrae Incognitae ’Writing North America is well researched and clearly organised with many fascinating anecdotes … a well-done study that will be of interest to historians of British North American travel, science, and literature during the early modern era.’ Sixteenth Century Journal ’Undoubtedly, Writing North America is a well of information for those interested in travel narratives, print culture, and colonial history generally. The study can serve both as an introductory text on early modern literature of colonization and as a valuable reference for scholars.’ Journal of Southern History
Contents: Prologue; 'Printing and adventuring': the convergence of literature and discovery; The geography and climate of North America; Representations of the American landscape; Colonists and the flora of America; The fauna of North America; Representations of English society in Virginia: intentions and realities; Representations of English society in New England: intentions and realities; Transmission and reception of American news in England; Conclusion; Bobliography; Index.