History/GWS 249 Reading Guide

Early Voices:  Travel Narratives



Note:  Rowlandson's book was the first "Indian captivity narrative" published in the colonies, and perhaps only the second book written and published by a New England woman.  Scholars originally thought her 1682 narrative was published posthumously, four years after her presumed death in 1678.  Recent research shows that her husband, Rev. Joseph Rowlandson, died in Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1678; Mary Rowlandson was granted a widow's pension by the church.  Within a year, she married Capt. Samuel Talcot of Connecticut.  She died in Wethersfield in 1711.

  • Unlike Bradstreet, Rowlandson wrote her account for publication.  Since this was an unusual goal for a woman, how did that intention and the "publishing environment" in New England shape the way that she crafted her narrative? 
  • How do her themes, subjects, and methods compare and contrast with Bradstreet's?
  • In which ways did Mary Rowlandson’s perspective resemble that of other late-seventeenth-century women? 
  • How does Rowlandson's account of her experience compare and contrast with the characterization by "Per Amicum" in "The Preface to the Reader"?

Further reading:

  • Sarah Kemble Knight (1666-1727), The Journal of Madam Knight (1704), read the entries for Oct. 2 to Dec. 21, 1704; Dec. 24, 1704 to the end.