Set In Seventeenth Century New England In The Aftermath Of The Pequod War, Hope Leslie Not Only Chronicles The Role Of Women In Building The Republic But Also Refocuses The Emergent National Literature On The Lives, Domestic S, And Values Of American WomenFor Than Seventy Years, Penguin Has Been The Leading Publisher Of Classic Literature In The English Speaking World With Than , Titles, Penguin Classics Represents A Global Bookshelf Of The Best Works Throughout History And Across Genres And Disciplines Readers Trust The Series To Provide Authoritative Texts Enhanced By Introductions And Notes By Distinguished Scholars And Contemporary Authors, As Well As Up To Date Translations By Award Winning Translators This book was a little hard to get into because the language is so archaic since it was written over 250 years ago However, it had been recommended to me by someone whose opinion I trusted, so I kept going I m glad I did I began to get caught up in the story and to care about the characters The author had an interesting attitude about people for someone of her time race, culture and upbringing don t matter as much as goodness of heart Also, outward professions and acts of righteousness don t matter as much as goodness of intent in those actions.I thought that the ending happened relatively quickly and some things were tied up a bit too neatly, but this was an interesting look into another time. Sedgwick was raised Puritan but ultimately broke ties with the religion because of the harsh treatment of nonbelievers It is very obvious in this novel that she really struggled with her decision Her description of the massacre of the Native Americans is heart breaking But the revenge massacre of the white family caring for two native children is just as terrible She describes the natives as savages but also raises the question of why whites believed they had a right to evict them from their land just because they did not have Puritan beliefs The novel is full of prejudice but also understanding and love I definitely want to read about this time I think a history of the United States before white invasion would be beneficial to all. I was sort of gung ho about this for a while, but my interest tapered about halfway through Then I was down to having one chapter to read but wasn t able to finish it before I went out of town so coming back to it today to finish even those last few pages was sort of like being told I missed a test in some class I skipped.I picked this book up because it was referenced in depth in Ann Douglas s The Feminization of American Culture and I had a copy so why not see for myself what Douglas was going on about The back cover calls Hope Leslie a counterpoint to the novels of James Feni Cooper , and I think that s pretty accurate What I do remember from reading the snooze fest that is commonly known as The Last of the Mohicans is that there were a couple chicks who passed out a lot Clearly Cooper didn t think so highly of women Sedgwick wrote her women a bit differently they re all rather independent, striving for equality in both race and gender And they had actual voices, and brains too Cooper probably was horrified A woman does than just fall down a lot Get back, Jack My largest issue is really the lamest one ever It s a 19th c book telling a 17th c story, which is great who doesn t love a good historical fiction But my mind is really in no place for sentimental literature, so obviously the timing was off for the last half of this Not to mention there s a lot of historical ambiguity here, which is something Douglas pointed out as well You re going to have that in a lot of historical fiction, but historically that s usually one of my biggest gripes about the genre anyway.Good, but not great I ll take it over Cooper any day though. I ve never enjoyed American literature, until this book So incredibly enjoyable Right up there with Austen for me So good Interesting themes going on here with the Puritans, Native Americans, and women s rights place idealsthe early American writers do quite like to ramble on, but the sensationalist slightly gothic plot in the last hundred or so pages is quite riveting Would be interesting to read alongside The Scarlet Letter 3.5 Enjoyable book, overall Although this comment obviously needs unpacking than I ll give it, I appreciated how complex Sedgwick made her characters, as well as how deftly she criticizes Puritan culture without often outright making said criticisms Unsurprisingly, the work surprisingly frequently takes on the flare of a satire, though only in what seem to be carefully considered moments The result is a smart take on a familiar kind of plot construed in a broad sense, particularly within 18th 19th century sentimental novels that I ve read in addition to some fairly radical ideas about femininity, orthodoxy, gender roles, and imperialism nationalism tempered slightly by some intrinsically racist ideas, though THOSE are tempered by Sedgwick s somewhat ambiguous posturing The introduction to this book which was really helpful, by the way, Carolyn Karcher suggest that our dear Sedgwick did not carry the same radical dispositions in Hope Leslie into her later works seeming to shirk them in favor of the status quo, to put it bluntly but I certainly enjoyed seeing it flit the ambrosial sky like an omen only Gardiner and his affective bucket of feels could appreciate. As I m really not a fan of early American literature, taking The Birth of the American Novel was maybe not the smartest idea After trudging through some truly appalling books, I was pleasantly surprised to catch myself enjoying Hope Leslie Recently, there has been a movement within literature and feminist studies to uncover great women writers who have been excluded from the canon Hope Leslie, which achieved only moderate popularity in its own time, was rediscovered and instated in many early American literature curriculums However, as far as I can tell, this hidden masterpiece has not actually strayed out of college syllabi In fact, when I was trying to find a historical perspective on the novel, I found that virtually nothing has been written about Hope Leslie It s actually rather intriguing, reading this hidden gem It makes the reader feel half hipster and half archaeologist Hope Leslie is a surprisingly liberal novel Even the most cursory reader will note the strong female heroines and the implied equality between Hope and Everell But we also see 1 Subtle digs at the cloistered society of Old World Europe2 Strong women of color3 Likely the only interracial relationship in literature from this time period4 A direct refutation of the racism in Last of the Mohicans 5 A call to stop the forced relocation of Native Americans6 A dismantling of the Puritan government7 A mockery of the violent religious ideology8 A condemnation of marriage9 A recognition that servants actually exist and are real people too10 Cross dressing and subversion of genderActually, I could keep naming liberal elements until I exhausted the allowed character count of this review It is one thing to find the above in Mother Jones, quite another to stumble across it in an 18th century American novel Hope Leslie is not only politically explosive but, in the standards of the time, quite well written The flowery prose and contrived monologues may not appeal to some modern readers, but Hope Leslie is far less contrived and far less flowery than many other books from the time period. 3.9 5 Can we grasp in friendship the hand raised to strike us For the temper of the brain in quick apprehensions and acute judgments, to say no , the most High and Sovereign God hath not made the Indian inferior to the European Roger Williams, A Key into the Language of America, 1643 There were some solid four, even five, star moments in this book, and the ideal is unique and surprisingly well executed enough at times for me to momentarily forgo the whole good intentions pave the road to hell repetition for the moment I m not surprised this book has fallen out of favor, as it isn t popular these days to religious in a way that actually touches upon a moral issue that denizens of this author s country would prefer to murder even thoroughly than they already have I usually avoid white authored narratives concerning themselves with non white traumas, but with this one, I m glad I experienced it, even if the second half didn t completely fulfill the promises of the first An eye for an eye and all that, and here you get a glimpse of the Spanish Tragedy continually fulfilled by white people s betrayal to the point that it s no surprise why white audiences are captivated by the threat of the hoard approaching their hallowed civilizations, from the obscenely popular TV shows to the most well received of video games Unfortunately, Sedgwick can t completely defeat her settler state mentality, else this would be a true classic undeniably worth being brought back Jennet was one of those persons, abounding in every class of life, whose virtues are most conspicuous in damning sins they are not inclined to H e surely may walk straight who hath nothing to draw him aside. The beginning of the work was slow going, but once I became accustomed to the prose and realized that this early 19th century tome was attempting to write early to mid 17th, the style of archaic prose became understandable, or at least worthy of the effort of understanding The best parts occurred when the facts of indigenous humanity and white settler brutality were laid out without flinching, and the murderous retaliation of the natives was not softened, but instead shown to be, at heart, a provoked act of defense It made for a complicated picture than the era of The Last of the Mohicans usually paints, which is likely why that and other sensationalist noble savage nonsense has thrived in the forms of full color films and impressive editions, while this has had to be repeatedly disinterred through great and persistent effort I wouldn t say Sedgwick never once stepped outside the bounds of her conjectured relations between indigenous inhabitants and white intruders, and the second half had too many slips into degrading moralizing for me to rate this any higher However, I would much prefer that this was the early start to many a white denizen of this country s introduction to a conversation of indigenous sovereignty than what most get these days, fictional or otherwise, as this work does much to combat the dehumanization soaked into mass media and reveal the genocidal history of these lands of mine for what they truly are Not a perfect book, then, but its sins do not merit the obscurity in which it has fallen today, and there is much to be learned from it nearly 200 years laterY ou must allow, brother, that she hath not, I speak it tenderly, that passiveness, that, next to godliness, is a woman s best virtue I should scarcely account, replied Mr Fletcher, a property of soulless matter, a virtue Magawisca s reflecting mind suggested the most seriously obstacle to the progress of the Christian religion, in all ages and under all circumstances the contrariety between its divine principles and the conduct of its professorsI ve started to realize that I ve developed sufficient self control in my book buying habits to be able to maintain my personal library without exceeding my storage capacity, which means I can afford to relax a bit when it comes to my purchases I just finished making up a comprehensive list than most of 19th century women s writing nearly 1000 individually published works of many genres , and it s staggeringly obscene how few of them were already in the system As such, anything old and demographically unusual is fair game when the title intrigues and the summary looks worth my time, as even works like this greatly supplement my holistic understanding of literature as it truly exists in history There s something truly rewarding about filling up the blanks in the personal reading records of myself, and it s taken me a while to develop sufficient resources, material and otherwise, for me to truly appreciate and augment my efforts in this regard Long story short, I m eager to find the next work speaking from a year, decade, or century where supposedly women did not speak, as what s the point of adulthood if one only reads what one is supposed to The experienced smile sorrowfully at the generous impulses, and fearless resolves of the young, who know not how costly is the sacrifice of self indulgence how difficult the ascent to the heights of disinterestedness but, let not the youthful aspirant be discouraged the wing is strengthened by use, and the bird that drops in its first flutterings about the parent nest, may yet soar to the sky. Often categorized and thus demeaned as a female Last of the Mohicans, Hope Leslie is a historical romance that accomplishes the unimaginable feat of making Puritans seem half human A full decade or so before Hawthorne would depict them as craggy, humorless grouches The Maypole of Merrymount , Sedgwick manages to invest some real depth and conflict in the men and women of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, c 1630 42 or so This is at heart, however, a book about Native American relations, and one that proves to be intriguingly ambivalent about forced relocation a topic as relevant in 1827 as in 1636 On the one hand, Sedgwick offers an alternative account of the Pequot War that shows the colonists to be less than heroic on the other, nothing in the narrative refutes the idea of the vacuum domicilium,which is not some new Oreck boondoggle but the empty house theory that stated Native Americans were vassals of the land, not it s conquerors, in part because they were only ever agriculturalists Against this background, there s also a lot of mushy stuff The one problem with the novel is that it s exceptionally hard to take the central dramatic scene seriously when a young Puritan boy is about to be given a crew cut at the neckline, the Indian heroine Magawisca intervenes and promptly has her arm chopped off by accident That the quivering member Sedgwick s words, not mine goes flying over the cliff only makes it harder to keep a straight face Fascinating book, historically important, but its faults make it of a job than a love.