Bryce Traister has edited a collection of 13 original essays exploring the shifting landscape in the historiography of American Puritanism in American Literature and the New Puritan Studies (Cambridge UP, 2017). These essays explore how studies in American literature(s) can benefit from the shifting trends in 21st-century scholarship under the broad themes of post-secular, post-national, and post-colonial literary readings. In this interview, Traister introduces the themes that led to the assembly of this new collection and describes the emerging trends in the long history of Puritan literature studies. Perhaps the postmortem calls for the end of Puritan literary studies in the academy were premature. New theoretical frameworks have opened entirely new vistas for re-engaging the Puritan archives with a new set of questions and interpretive opportunities.
Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.