Edward Taylor's Gods Determinations and Preparatory Meditations: A Critical Edition

Edward Taylor's Gods Determinations and Preparatory Meditations: A Critical Edition

Edward Taylor's Gods Determinations and Preparatory Meditations: A Critical Edition

Edward Taylor's Gods Determinations and Preparatory Meditations: A Critical Edition

Synopsis

"Daniel Patterson's Edward Taylor's Gods Determinations and Preparatory Meditations: A Critical Edition reconsiders the texts of Taylor's two major works for the first time since Donald Stanford's 1960 edition. This volume also offers the first complete text of all the Meditations that Taylor transcribed into his "Poetical Works" manuscript. The restoration of Taylor's text, however, is the most enduring value of this edition, which is designed to become the new standard edition of these poems. The scores of substantive variants and the hundreds of variants in matters of punctuation and capitalization existing between the Patterson and Stanford texts are fully reported in the back of the volume, as are all editorial emendations. Ultimately, Patterson's accurate, restored text shows Taylor to have been much more in control of his art than has previously been reported." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

When Edward Taylor reluctantly made the treacherous journey to the frontier settlement of Westfield, Massachusetts, in November 1671, he was about twenty-eight years old, highly educated, and the author of a few poems. Fifty-eight years later, when the minister-poet died in Westfield, he had delivered several thousand sermons, written more than 2,000 manuscript pages of original prose, and composed some 40,000 lines of poetry—practically all of which remained only in manuscript form for more than two hundred years, and very little of which was read by anyone other than a few family members and friends.

Edward Taylor was born in Sketchley, Leicestershire, in 1642, 1643, or 1644. No more specific information of the year of his birth exists than two conflicting reports of his age upon his death in 1729: his obituary in the Boston News Letter cites his age as eighty-five, while his tombstone reads eighty-seven.

Born into England’s turbulent 1640s, the young Edward Taylor apparently matured through the 1650s and 1660s into a nonconformist. After mentioning that Taylor was educated by a nonconformist schoolmaster and that he then kept a school himself for a brief time, his obituary speculates that “this Part of the World” would never have known

1. Donald E. Stanford’s dissertation, “An Edition of the Complete Poetical Works of Edward Taylor,” contains or refers to practically all sources of information about Taylor’s life known at that time. Constance J. Gefvert, Edward Taylor: An Annotated Bibliography, 1668–1970, includes convenient listings of sources known through 1970. Since then, important manuscript material has contributed to a more coherent reconstruction of his life: see especially Walter L. Powell, “Edward Taylor’s Westfield: An Edition of the Westfield ‘Town Records’”; CR, MP, ETvsSS, HG, and UTOT; see also Thomas M. Davis, “Edward Taylor’s Elegy on Deacon David Dewey.”

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