Governing the Tongue: The Politics of Speech in Early New England

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Oxford University Press, Feb 18, 1999 - History - 304 pages
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Governing the Tongue explains why the spoken word assumed such importance in the culture of early New England. In a work that is at once historical, socio-cultural, and linguistic, Jane Kamensky explores the little-known words of unsung individuals, and reconsiders such famous Puritan events as the banishment of Anne Hutchinson and the Salem witch trials, to expose the ever-present fear of what the Puritans called "sins of the tongue." But even while dangerous or deviant speech was restricted, as Kamensky illustrates here, godly speech was continuously praised and promoted. Congregations were told that one should lift one's voice "like a trumpet" to God and "cry out and cease not." By placing speech at the heart of New England's early history, Kamensky develops new ideas about the complex relationship between speech and power in both Puritan New England and, by extension, our world today.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
The Sweetest Meat the Bitterest Poison
17
A Most Unquiet Hiding Place
43
The Misgovernment of Womans Tongue
71
Publick Fathers and Cursing Sons
99
Saying and Unsaying
127
The Tongue Is a Witch
150
Epilogue
181
Litigation over Speech in Massachusetts 16301692
195
Notes
203
Index
281
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Page 4 - I SAID, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

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About the author (1999)

Jane Kamensky is Assistant Professor of American History at Brandeis University and author of The Colonial Mosaic: American Women, 1600-1760 (OUP, 1995).

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