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Title: "Speedwell, Mayflower e Arbella": vascelli verso la Terra Promessa
Authors: Bartocci, Clara
Keywords: American foundational imagesAmerican coloniesShips travelling to AmericaSpeedwellMayflower and ArbellaSea-deliverance narratives
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Clara Bartocci, “"Speedwell, Mayflower e Arbella": vascelli verso la Terra Promessa", in: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali, XIV (2007), pp. 285-300
Series/Report no.: Prospero XIV
The English ships travelling through the Atlantic during the 17th Century were not only the necessary means for trade and colonisation, but as well a kind of umbilical cord which enabled the European colonies to receive a spiritual nutrition too, through the transfer of traditions, knowledge and institutions. This connection, however, was also unsteady because of the extent of the ocean and the perils entailed in the voyage. The ocean became then a symbol of isolation, favouring the progressive differentiation of the American culture from the European one and the consolidation of new lifestyles. Thus, the ship gained the function of a privileged place in which it was possible to sign agreements that could go beyond the laws of the mainland, an isolated microcosm protected by the world’s influence. Events of this kind are narrated by the protagonist of such an endeavour, William Bradford, who decided to write the history of Plymouth, the colony he founded.
The essay investigates this work, with its intention to demonstrate how the difficulty of the Pilgrims’ voyage was then rewarded with the help of God, thus proving the sanctity of the enterprise. The analysis regards as well other examples of ‘sea-deliverance narratives’, especially those relating to the three ships which have an exceptional importance for American history: 'Speedwell', 'Mayflower' and 'Arbella'. On them, significant speeches were made, which would later become foundational images of the American myths of exceptionality and democratic citizenship.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1123-2684
Appears in Collections:2007 / 14 Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali

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