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Home » Colonial American Literature » WHY NOT ASK QUESTIONS WILLIAM BRADFORD NEVER INTENDED US TO ASK ABOUT HIS HISTORY OF THE PLYMOUTH PILGRIMS?

WHY NOT ASK QUESTIONS WILLIAM BRADFORD NEVER INTENDED US TO ASK ABOUT HIS HISTORY OF THE PLYMOUTH PILGRIMS?

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(Repeated from November 2015)

It’s the month for Thanksgiving in the U.S., and I hope you have joined us as we have been thinking about William Bradford’s classic History of Plymouth Plantation. If you are just now clicking in for the first time, take a moment and scroll down through the last two postings just to get a context for this post. Throughout the month I am breaking with my usual Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule and posting much more frequently.

Last time I gave a short overview of Bradford’s book. If you want to read it all and really get into the spirit of Thanksgiving and of November, click here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/24950. But I was thinking about how Bradford would have liked his readers to respond to his story. And for most of postcolonial American history readers pretty well accepted Bradford’s story as he intended.

We are not his intended readers, though. We are all Postmoderns whether we like it or not and our ways are not his ways. What any given author intended is not really that relevant for us. We see the words on the page and we read them through our own post-paradigm shift.

So, let’s de-center this text a bit. Look off to the sides. Let’s start asking questions William Bradford never intended us to ask. I am breaking this article into two parts. Stay tuned.

Leave comments. Re-blog this post and talk about these things as you lead a literary life.

Paul Varner

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