Since she came hither, she hath found her heart more dead and dull, etc., and being in much sickness when she came first into the land, she saw how vain a thing it was to put confidence in any creature. But yet it wrought some discontent in her own spirit, but [she] hath since witnessed the Lord’s love to her. Sometime a heart to run and sometime to sit still in the Lord’s way.—Elizabeth Olbon, “The Confessions” (1638–45)
In the 1630s thousands of men, women, and children—like Elizabeth Olbon—left England’s eastern shores for New England. These individuals were already migrants. They had, in all likelihood, moved at least once in their lives to escape religious persecution and to fulfill a religious ideal in a less encumbered setting. These religious migrants have become known as the Puritans, a group of people loosely defined through a shared and often zealous adherence to the reformed theological tradition, largely following the work of John Calvin. Beginning in the sixteenth century, the Puritan movement took root in specific regional locales throughout Germany, Scotland, the Low Countries, and England. Religious conflict simmered from the 1580s forward and intensified during the reign of Charles I (1625–49) as Puritans repeatedly called for further reform, often through appeals to the early church and antiquity. Religious and political tension and persecution caused groups of Puritans to leave England in search of new lands and communities.
What has become known as the Great Puritan Migration of 1630 epitomized these migratory patterns as nearly twenty thousand individuals made the arduous Atlantic crossing for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Comparatively speaking, this was a significant but relatively small chapter in a much larger story of Atlantic transit. Nearly half a million Britons migrated to Ireland, North America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa in the seventeenth century. The religious landscape peppering migratory patterns was much more diverse than the monolith of Puritan studies has traditionally made it out to be. Quakers, Anglicans, and Catholics also settled the coast of North America, while a string of Spanish missions stretched from St. Augustine, Florida, to the California coast. French Jesuits and Recollect clergy settled in the Saint Lawrence River area, the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi valley to establish a French Catholic culture in Native American villages. Yet, the “Great Puritan Migration” still looms large in the US cultural imaginary as one of the myths of the nation’s founding. While the arc from the Puritans to the present day has been deemed too teleological and singular in our scholarship, it is still alive and well in the popular imagination. It is thus imperative that the field of Puritan studies be continuously reinvigorated rather than forgotten. For as much as we rightly disavow the Puritan “origins thesis” on intellectual grounds, the mythology of and desire for an American beginning will persist as an integral facet for the students we teach and the world we live in.
The aim of this special issue is to reflect on the place of Puritan studies within the fields and genealogies of American literature. By titling the issue “Postexceptionalist Puritanism,” we wish to make clear that this is in no sense an argument for the revival of old paradigms. Rather, the essays included herein have absorbed the lessons of Atlantic, transnational, and comparative approaches. In so doing, they also seek to construct new intellectual histories and literary genealogies that plot fragmentation, epistemic rupture, and discontinuity as integral facets of American literary beginnings. As Olbon’s “Confessions” (1994) makes clear, New England arrivals were seldom filled with a sense of millennial fulfillment. Rather they experienced physical and emotional sickness, “discontent,” and even despair. Finding assurance of grace was arduous work, as was surviving in a new land so far from home. On the one hand, Pilgrims and Puritans arrived in the New World with a sense of their monolithic English identity, which they adhered to all the more ardently in the face of American Indian tribes. Yet this was also an identity that had been permanently altered and fragmented.
Through personal and public writing, which took the form of histories, autobiographies, and poems, Puritan and Pilgrim migrants to America tried to make sense of this tension between uncontested Englishness and the profound singularity of a religious mission that also made them distinct from their Old World brethren. The journey across the Atlantic was frequently interpreted as an allegory for the journey of their souls. Using the primitive, biblical church as the doctrinal standard, Puritans bore witness to history unfolding around them as an ongoing battle between their true church and the Antichrist who threatened to destroy the last remnants of the true faith.
In New England, they waged that battle from a new position of power. The struggle to establish a proper form of church and state—one that would support the right “ordinances” of faith—carried over from England, but whereas Puritans had once struggled as a group of minority dissenters, now they wielded political might as a majority able to enforce its will. Even so, they seldom could agree about what it was they actually willed—or what would truly constitute the proper form of church and state to nourish the faith of the faithful. Dissension and schism did not end when the Pilgrims and the Puritans left England. It was built into the system, and those in power had to wrestle with the extent of disagreement permitted and the range of practices allowed. For many ordinary Puritans, meanwhile, suffering moved from the bodily torture and persecution inflicted on radical Protestants in England to the suffering mind and faith of those who left home behind. The decision to migrate to the New World was a deeply ambivalent move, for it was a terrifying feeling to eschew your king because he did not represent your faith. Early American writers took on the challenge of trying to sort through this ambivalence, insisting that migration happened for a reason and that the journey was authored by God. Nonetheless, a structure of paranoia entered into and haunted the Protestant voice: once dissent begins, what prevents its unending continuance? Voices of the Atlantic journey to North America exude a sense of grandiosity as well as one of errant declension, wandering off into unknown parts.
Given these geographically and spiritually schismatic beginnings, it is perhaps ironic that American exceptionalism has been traced back to New England Puritanism. Particularly through the work of Perry Miller and Sacvan Bercovitch, the New England Puritans once bore the weight of American origins, standing at the head of a tradition that would eventuate in the United States and its national literature. As the usual narrative has it, the Puritans saw themselves as a chosen people, establishing a new Promised Land that would serve as the opening of the millennium and the beginning of the end of time. Pursuing this “errand into the wilderness,” Puritans served as the origin point for a nation that would see itself as chosen by God, a “city on a hill” serving as a model of civil and religious liberty to all. Even today, many still trace Puritans forward from the language of New Israel through Manifest Destiny to the American century and the war on terror (see, e.g., Söderlind and Carson 2011).1 As long as the Puritans were associated with the start of a unique American tradition, they were considered worth knowing and understanding.
For the past two decades a postexceptionalist wave of Puritan scholarship has effectively decoupled Puritanism from this larger telos of American origins. As a result, new historiographic tools have emerged for studying and understanding Puritanism in a variety of contexts. This special issue showcases the practices and literacies that make new and fundamental contributions to our understanding of the relation between narrative form and colonial history. Authors consider the radical transformation of Puritanism through missionary encounters, interactions with foreign landscapes, new peoples, and new religious communities. We understand these changes as simultaneously rooted in a particular time and place and part of a larger Atlantic world. The Puritans described in this special issue both advance Atlantic perspectives and resist them. As we shall see, new texts and textualities, new objects of analysis, new literacies, and new ways of reading become available when we attend to the real and fictive contexts of Puritanism.
The new Puritan studies takes shape against the backdrop of the old Puritan origins thesis, the roots of which date back long before twentieth-century scholarship. Already in the early 1800s John Quincy Adams linked the Mayflower Compact to the US Constitution and boldly proclaimed, “To the Puritans of New England this continent owes its Independence and its freedom” (quoted in Sheidley 1998, 123).2 That story took on new life in 1820, when the famed orator Daniel Webster (1821, 6), while celebrating the bicentennial of the Pilgrim landing, explained that the history “of our native land” began at Plymouth, where a small band of Pilgrim settlers impressed on the shores “the first footsteps of civilized man.” Webster’s speech came at a time of rising tensions between North and South, including a struggle over who would write the nation’s history. As his words spread—printed and distributed in pamphlets, incorporated into textbooks, taught in schools, and memorized by pupils—the idea of Pilgrim and Puritan origins continued to rise. The battle for the beginning of America was waged throughout the nineteenth century, but it was largely won by New Englanders, whose story of America as originating in Plymouth and Boston was reflected in the dominant histories of the era.
Winning that battle in the nineteenth century entailed significant developments in the twentieth. Many years after Webster’s glorification of the Pilgrims, President Ronald Reagan (1974) would speak of a “divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage,” and he would ground that assertion in John Winthrop, the first Puritan governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Later, Reagan (1989) declared that Winthrop was “an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man.” He came “looking for a home that would be free” and thereby established America as a “shining city on a hill”—“a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.” Such a story has been taken up in varying degrees by politicians on both sides of the aisle. In 2006, a rising senator named Barack Obama told graduating seniors of the University of Massachusetts at Boston that “the American experiment” began in the waters around them: “As the earliest settlers arrived on the shores of Boston and Salem and Plymouth, they dreamed of building a City upon a Hill,” he explained. “And the world watched, waiting to see if this improbable idea called America would succeed.”
Yet it is not just politicians who have recited this narrative. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, historians also embraced it, giving this story the heft of scholarship and the authority of credentials. Historian George Bancroft (1834, 338) declared that the “germ of our Institutions” lay in Puritan New England: “Through scenes of gloom and misery, the Pilgrims showed the way to an asylum for those, who would go to the wilderness for the purity of religion or the liberty of conscience” (349). In the twentieth century Perry Miller (1956) took up that story in a new way, rejecting romanticized versions of the Pilgrims and Puritans while still using them to establish the distinctive elements of a unique American culture, literature, and experience. Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism ( 2010) singled out the quintessential American Benjamin Franklin as the exemplar of the deep connection between Calvinism and capitalism. Then in the 1970s Sacvan Bercovitch (1975; 2011) turned to the Puritans to explain American political rhetoric from the seventeenth century to the present day. Puritan typology, he argued, mixed the sacred and the secular to sanctify America in a continuous arc of redemptive history. According to Bercovitch (1978; 2011) the unique qualities of Puritan typology so influenced American thinking that even today we cannot escape—and only inadequately resist—the exceptionalism built into their view.3
Since the 1980s, however, this approach to studying Puritanism has been considered deeply problematic. Three basic issues with the “Puritan origins thesis” led Puritan studies beyond origins and exceptionalism to new questions, methods, and findings. First, many early Americanists pointed out that the study of New England Calvinists excluded a huge number of Americans from many different races, nations, and cultures. America, put simply, was always bigger and broader than a narrowly defined New England. And the solution to a Puritan-induced myopia was rather simple: stop studying Puritanism and start studying others. Early American literature and history enlarged rapidly, trying to take in the bewildering multitude of peoples, geographies, contacts, cultures, and literatures spread throughout North and South America. From their heyday in the 1960s through the 1980s, Puritan studies (and Puritan scholars) gradually diminished in the 1990s, even as early American history and literature expanded.
The second problem of the Puritan origins thesis was that it assumed a continuous narrative from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution, from Puritan theology through Unitarianism to transcendentalism and beyond, from Election Day jeremiads in the 1660s to modern political speeches three hundred years later. Wanting to find a coherent story and a unique cultural identity, scholars from the early days of American studies up through Bercovitch imposed a teleological continuity on the past. The solution to this problem meant severing the story—shortening the narrative so that early American studies would not be used primarily to make sense of the American Revolution, the American renaissance, or American culture today.4 Such a solution entailed a greater emphasis on comparative and connective studies across early America, integrating the Puritans of New England into a larger world without feeling the need to trace that world forward.
But beyond its neglect of so many American cultures and its problematic teleology, the Puritan origins thesis also contained a fundamental flaw: it actually got the Puritans wrong. The old thesis seemed to assume a homogeneous culture of Calvinism in early New England that gradually, and inevitably, secularized. When the twenty-first-century “religious turn” in literary studies prompted a resurgence of scholarly interest in the Puritans, the most significant change was the explosion of a unified and coherent New England Puritanism moving steadily from religious piety to secular prosperity.5 Scholars looked instead, for example, to the presence and influence of Native American nations in New England, demonstrating how much the meeting of these cultures shaped one another in a multitude of ways. That contact presented new forms of knowledge in medical encounters (Wisecup 2013; Silva 2011), new theological questions and challenges (Bross 2004), new forms of communication and publication (Cohen 2009), new epistemological concerns and philosophical reflections about the soul (Rivett 2011; Van Engen 2015), new figures for transatlantic dialogues, debates, and power struggles (Stevens 2004), and much more. Even when scholars focused primarily on the white English settlers of New England, a great deal of diversity continued to emerge. Not only were there the usual prominent dissenters, like Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams, and the usual prominent dissenting groups, like Baptists and Quakers, but there were also plenty of seemingly “orthodox” Puritans who practiced little religious devotion, not willing to stake their lives either for or against the reigning religious establishment—especially when the establishment itself could not seem to unify around a single set of positions or beliefs. Ministers debated how to interpret scripture (Gordis 2003), while elite merchants pursued their own agendas against the established order (Breen 2001). Moreover, the diversity of practices and beliefs increased the farther one traveled from the center, so that the Puritans who ended up in Maine, for example, look far different from those in Boston (Chmielewski 2012).
In addition to the diversity of beliefs, New England Puritanism demonstrated a diversity of practices. The turn to “lived religion” in multiple fields opened up a Puritanism that was far more than a series of intellectual debates, assertions, and assents; instead, it was an exercise and a performance, a lived reality that included and expanded beyond a confessed set of doctrines (see Hall 1997). New England Calvinists engaged in numerous rites and rituals, a mix of moods, and a range of activities that could one day emphasize religious seriousness and the next day demonstrate very little devotion. Scholars realized that the only way to understand these multifarious moods and practices was to move past the printed sermons and treatises of ministers and magistrates. And so Puritan studies embraced new investigations of ritual practices and devotional manuals (Hambrick-Stowe 1982; Brown 2007); manuscripts, sermon culture, and the making of material texts (Hall 2008; Neuman 2013); and an expanding array of genres and conventions (Silva 2011), including new publics and new sites of publication that changed the meaning of individual texts and events (Field 2009). Hutchinson and the antinomian controversy, in particular, became no longer a local conflict about American Puritanism but a signal occurrence of transatlantic puritanism understood only through the pressures of an English audience (Bozeman 2004; Como 2004; Dillon 2001; Ditmore 2000). From David Hall’s Worlds of Wonder (1989) to Janice Knight’s Orthodoxies in Massachusetts (1994) to numerous others today, the Puritans of “Puritan New England” have seemed to dissolve before us, no longer a coherent group defined around a codified set of propositions and beliefs but an aggregate of individuals with varying orthodoxies and differing levels of devotion, constantly shifting their practices and their writings through new contacts and relations.
As this increasing diversity has surfaced, we have not entirely abandoned the idea of a broader Puritan culture: a diverse set of individuals within a wide movement can still retain some unifying principles or expressions.6 But even here the Puritan origins thesis and its tie to American exceptionalism have often gotten those unifying principles and expressions wrong. The work of correction coincides with the 1980s critique of exceptionalism, when Theodore Dwight Bozeman (1986) and Andrew Delbanco (1984) challenged the idea that Puritans pursued a grand “errand into the wilderness.” As their essays and books revealed, the evidence for such an errand—at least in the first generation of Puritan settlers—was rather scant, and what evidence did surface seemed either taken out of context or imposed from later eras. As Virginia Anderson (1991) and David Cressy (1987) added, the process of migration involved multiple motives, with religious ideology forming only one of them, and it would take later writers and descendants to mythologize the first Puritan settlers as driven by a core, articulate purpose. Instead, early English settlers more closely resembled bewildered immigrants, not so much pursuing a global mission as escaping the ravages of Europe and attempting to find some kind of refuge in New England, hoping to live godly lives but not seeing themselves as the pinnacle of the Reformation or the forerunners of the millennium.7 Recently, Kathleen Donegan (2014) has taken that approach one step further, showing that the Pilgrims of Plymouth, like other early colonists in Roanoke and Jamestown and the West Indies, were epistemically disoriented and tormented in the welter of suffering they both inflicted and experienced. Lost and confused, these colonists were hardly able to maintain a coherent English identity, let alone pursue a glorious civil or religious enterprise.
Far from a unique origin isolated and set apart, New England’s historical, political, cultural, and literary development increasingly made intellectual sense only within a transatlantic, and then a wider Atlantic, and then a global interconnected frame. Thus, Baird Tipson’s (2015) careful study of Puritan theology and practice in New England, focused on Thomas Hooker in Hartford, understands its subject only by bringing to bear much broader theological currents and debates spanning all of contemporary Europe. Similarly, Nan Goodman (2018) has sought to demonstrate the cosmopolitan thinking and feeling ingrained in Puritan culture, while Jan Stievermann’s (2016) work on Cotton Mather thoroughly debunks the idea that he was a parochial theologian invested in American exceptionalism. As such studies reveal, scholars now regularly link the cultural contact and diversity within New England to the transatlantic publics and dialogues in which accounts of such encounters and experiences came into print. In Puritan studies today, the early English settlers of New England can no longer be approached without considering an international context of religion, empire, trade, and war.8
In taking this approach, scholars of Puritanism today regularly align themselves with interests and methodologies that define early American studies more broadly. For example, a turn to the history of science has produced new works on the role of alchemical and empirical methods in early New England, demonstrating the tight bond between science and religion in the search for a unified system of knowledge (Woodward 2013), in the patterns of medical narratives (Silva 2011), and in the study of the invisible world (Rivett 2011). Meanwhile, as new histories of American capitalism have burgeoned, the Puritans have been revisited to understand how Calvinist merchants and ministers integrated and adapted emerging ideas of trade, sometimes resisting economic systems and sometimes spurring them on, shifting and struggling with doctrine without losing their devotion (Valeri 2010). The rise of the history of emotions, another growing subfield, has led to new work attempting to understand Calvinism’s language of sentiment (Burnham 1997) and its theology of sympathy (Van Engen 2015) in relation to later developments in moral sense philosophy and sentimental literature. Political history, long sidelined, has also returned. New works have attempted to understand the Puritans’ role in developing ideas of republicanism through attempts to articulate a proper order of church governance (Winship 2012), while also looking at the way Puritans feared and resisted “arbitrary rule” and tried to establish a local form of English liberty reliant on “equity” (Hall 2011).9 Finally, in the “turn to religion” and the development of postsecular scholarship—which has affected all these works—new studies of Puritanism have attempted to demonstrate how the “religious” and the “secular” shaped one another in New England, including how the Puritans embedded a sense of “secularity” at the heart of their enterprise (Traister 2016). This new account of the sacred and the secular does not turn on typology or Bercovitch’s sanctifying of America but rather relies on scholars such as Talal Asad (2003), Tracy Fessenden (2007), Saba Mahmood (2016), and Charles Taylor (2007) to reconsider the practices of daily life and the changing conditions of belief—the ways in which doctrine and ritual could shift, adapt, and incorporate new developments without being any less devotional.
In addition to the way Puritan scholars have aligned their work with broader interests in science, economics, emotions, and religion, they have also taken up the study of how early American history and literature have been remembered and deployed by later generations. Again, this interest extends far beyond Puritan New England. The booming study of how archives have been formed and how they function—the politics of preservation and the power of memory—represents one prominent example of this wider interest in collective and cultural memories. In studying Puritan memory in particular, scholars have sought to understand the continual reimaginings of American Puritanism that range from celebration to castigation—from Thanksgiving to Salem—encapsulated in everything from tabletop knickknacks to novels to television to tourism. Studies in the formation of collective memory and the making of Puritan texts (when did certain writings become famous, who made them famous, and why) have begun to look closely at how the Puritans came to have so much import in American history, literature, and politics.10 How did Alexis de Tocqueville come to trace American democracy back to Puritan New England in the 1830s? Why in the early 1900s did Weber, while traveling across the United States, come to associate American capitalism with American Calvinism? In short, how were the Puritans turned into an American origin story, and what purpose has that origin served for specific people at different times and in particular contexts? These and other questions animate many scholars who do the work of resisting and overcoming a teleological narrative of exceptionalism by seeking to understand how, when, and why it ever took shape in the first place.
This special issue presents five articles showcasing these elements of new work on the Puritans. In varying ways, each author reflects on issues of temporality, reimagining histories as well as historiographies of Puritanism in order to reconceive of the Puritan origins thesis (“Infidel America”), get beyond historicism altogether (“Disgusting Affects”), and imagine future eschatologies (“Islam, Puritanism, and Secular Time”).
Rachel Trocchio’s “Memory’s Ends” begins the journal issue by directly addressing the function and purpose of memory, as understood by the Puritans. Her argument is that for the Puritans memory was more than storage; it was also a hermeneutic practice. Memory brought together creativity, invention (in a classical sense), and grace; it took what had been stored and interpreted it in modes meant to touch the heart and change the person. This essay opens up a conversation about how the Puritans understood memory before subsequent authors consider how the Puritans end up being remembered.
Daniel Grace begins the process in “Infidel America,” where he uses the writings of Frederick Douglass to reverse the dynamics of the jeremiad as it was narrated by Bercovitch and others. Grace shows that for Douglass the jeremiad makes the case that America must be redeemed by England from an original sin brought by the Puritans. This is an America that cannot be saved through introspection but rather must be saved from without.
In “How to Undo the History of Sexuality,” Jordan Alexander Stein offers us a different look at how the material practice of editing Puritan writings helped embed a certain kind of understanding about them, in a way that entails broader ramifications for understanding the assumptions and effects of editorial labors. Moving past origins stories and beyond linear historicism, Molly Farrell’s “Disgusting Affects” offers a transhistorical approach to studying literary modes and methods of affect, while tracing the uses and effects of the specific affect of “disgust.”
Finally, Christopher Trigg’s “Islam, Puritanism, and Secular Time” is future oriented. Trigg asks us to imagine what a postexceptionalist eschatology might look like. Focusing explicitly on issues of temporality, this essay explores how an understood future time affects issues of religious pluralism and tolerance in the present.
The essays in this special issue, along with all the many studies helping to reshape our understanding of Puritanism today, share a common desire to explain and understand American Puritanism through a few seeming paradoxes. Scholars today see Puritanism emerging only from its interactions with a multitude of others spread across early America and the wider Atlantic, and yet it emerges precisely because it contains within it certain distinctions—often to the surprise and consternation of its early modern contemporaries. Puritans partook in the enterprises of the Atlantic world and English imperialism while also understanding and applying science, economics, emotions, philosophy, politics, gender, race, and religion in their own ways. The study of Puritanism today, therefore, is either explicitly or implicitly interconnected and comparative. From that claim a second seeming paradox arises: scholars studying the Puritans today see their subjects as tension filled, impossible to define, and diverse beyond any clear or concise coherence, so that any claims made about “Puritanism” writ large must constantly be qualified to indicate a certain set of particular individuals within a broader religious culture. Finally, insofar as distinctions do indicate some unifying principles or expressions within a broader religious culture, those distinctions do not become marks of superiority or origin points in a tale of national development but rather are sites to understand from one particular angle the broader topics motivating a specific study of Puritanism—the issues that link scholars of Puritanism to other scholars working far afield—so that we always approach the varied cultural landscape of New England through the lens of a vast early America.
In one of his earliest public speeches, John Quincy Adams (2002) declared that the Mayflower Compact is “the only instance in human history of that positive, original social compact, which speculative philosophers have imagined as the only legitimate source of government.”
For a helpful recent reassessment of where Bercovitch’s ideas stand in contemporary scholarship, see Early American Literature2012.
This teleological assumption is precisely what David Shields (1993, 542) opposed more broadly in early American studies, when he took joy in the new approach “that does away with genealogy, that does not trace the symbolic ancestry of an American mind/self/character/dream, that does not play the connect-the-dots game from Raleigh to Smith to Winthrop to Bradstreet to Mather to Franklin and Edwards to Adams and Jefferson to Wheatley and Crevecoeur to Barlow and Brown.” As Sarah Rivett (2012, 393) summarizes, “Early American studies has moved away from grand narratives of national development, separated the colonial past from the nation that has long claimed its heritage, and defined a colonial culture that is much more than just a foreshadowing of things to come.”
This formulation became popular around 2005, when literary scholars began to reflect on the visibility of religion in literary studies (see, e.g., Holsinger 2006).
Scholars of Puritanism in the United States are split about whether to retain a capital P to mark off a distinct culture, but studies of puritanism in England no longer capitalize the term because the assumption is that “puritanism” is so diverse and so difficult to define that any use of the term—especially with a capital P—misleadingly implies more coherence than can actually be found.
On this point, see also Conforti 2006. For the desire to live and model godly lives—not in exceptionalist terms but as a basic striving of their Christian ethos shared with other Protestant communities in England and elsewhere—see Bremer 1992.
For the turn to transatlantic Puritanism, see Foster 1991 and Bremer 1993. For one important treatment of Puritan New England within a broader English Atlantic world, see Pestana 2004. For global economic networks and their impact on Puritan New England, see Burnham 2007. For one of the best and broadest comparative accounts of early colonial empires, see Elliott 2006. For essay collections that set Puritan New England within these broader contexts, see Gregerson and Juster 2013 and Kirk and Rivett 2014.
For an excellent review of Winship 2012 and Hall 2011 that also offers a recent account of Puritan studies as it stands now, see Peterson 2013. For another good account of Puritan studies today, see Traister 2017b.
Studies of Nathaniel Hawthorne have always been interested in this question, but it has expanded much more broadly in recent years. Seelye’s (1998) massive volume led the way in this expansion. For other examples, see Conforti 2001, Gamble 2012, Gradert 2017, Leise 2017, Roylance 2018, and Van Engen 2013. Essays about the cultural use and memorialization of Puritanism also appear in Traister 2017a.