Conversing by signs: poetics of implication in colonial New by Robert Blair St. George

By Robert Blair St. George

The writer demonstrates how New England colonialists lived in a densely metaphoric panorama, exploring the hyperlinks among such cultural expressions as witchcraft narratives and 18th-century crowd violence. He questions the particular influence of the Enlightenment in this weather of worry and instability.

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Title. 02 dc21CIP 02 01 00 99 98 5 4 3 2 1 Chapter 1 is a substantially revised and expanded version of "Bawns and Beliefs: Architecture, Commerce, and Conversion in Early New England," originally published in Winterthur Portfolio 25, no. 4 (Winter 1990): 241-87. Reprinted by permission of Winterthur Museum and the University of Chicago Press. Page v For Caroline Page vii The visible brings the world to us. But at the same time it reminds us ceaselessly that it is a world in which we risk to be lost.

The constancy of theft makes culture a hotbed of dynamic change. As one critic has suggested, the territory of appropriation is also "the ground on which the transformations are worked. " 6 By claiming indirection reporting and appropriating, containing and resisting aboard the train of imagination as its domain, implication extends to include such referential strategies as metaphoric compression, symbolic condensation, and symbolic diffusion. Each of these plays a role in the transformative work that implication accomplishes in culture.

The visual was as significant as the verbal in early modern English culture because the former was believed to be the "outer" sense that led most directly to the verbal "inner" realm where common sense, fantasy, and memory joined external perceptions in understanding. According to Paolo Lomazzo, bodily motions were on an even par with words. " 1 In seventeenth-century New England, if not among today's practicing historians, word and thing were inextricably linked, referentially interdependent, constantly implicated in each other's ways of making meaning.

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