12 January 2009

In Danger to Be Corrupted

A second impression of burnt umber added after some additional carving of the block.

A tremendous amount of study and scholarship has been done on the Puritan settlers of colonial America. This makes my research very easy, but it also makes my artistic task difficult. I want to work from actual texts and historical facts, I want to be as accurate as possible, but I'll never be a historian and my overarching intention with these prints is not historical representation. My intention is actually very personal -- to have a dialog with my ancestors, to ask them some questions, and to see where they take me in that boat of theirs.

So far I've been referencing three sources, the previously mentioned book Mayflower, William Bradford's Of Plimouth Plantation, and a book by James and Patricia Scott Deetz called The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love and Death in Plymouth Colony. I picked up the Deetz book several years ago in Provincetown on Cape Cod, where the Pilgrims first landed, but I never read it until now.

The quote I'm working with for this print is William Bradford's description of one of the reasons why the Pilgrims, who had taken shelter in Leiden, Holland for 12 years, were keen to get out of that country and head for America:
"But that which was more lamentable, and of all sorrows most heavy to be borne, was that many of their children, by these occasions and the great licentiousness of youth in that country, and the manifold temptations of the place, were drawn away by evil examples into extravagant and dangerous courses, getting the reins off their necks and departing from their parents... so that they saw their posterity would be in danger to degenerate and to be corrupted."


d. moll, l.ac. said...

Oh, dear, to stem the waywardness of youth was the root of the movement......how very curious.

Annie B said...

It really is striking, isn't it?! Some things never change. Maybe lots of things never change.