Re-thinking Captivity Narrative
In a March 21 talk, Richard De Prospo re-examines how we interpret the most famous 17th-century account of a European colonist in Indian captivity.
One of the most famous, the most studied, the most reprinted, and the most anthologized of all early American texts is Mary Rowlandson’s story. Her narrative is the earliest surviving account of Indian captivity written by a European colonist in the British Colonies of North America.
Richard De Prospo, professor of English and American Studies at Washington College, questions whether this well-known account is really a narrative at all. Indeed, have we been overselling Mary Rowlandson’s seventeenth-century account of Indian captivity to our 21st-century undergraduates?
De Prospo’s presentation, sponsored by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, starts at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21 in the Sophie Kerr Room, Miller Library, Washington College. The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a light reception.
A highly successful author, De Prospo’s books include The Latest Early American Literature (2015), The Stowe Debate; Rhetorical Strategies in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, with Mason Lowance and Ellen Westbrook (1994), and Theism in the Discourse of Jonathan Edwards (1985). He has published numerous articles that can be found on his Washington College profile. De Prospo began teaching at Washington College in 1975; he has also been visiting professor of literary theory at the University of New Hampshire and of early American literature at the University of London.