So this is a sort of avoiding writing a paper post, but it's sort of interesting too. I'm in an American Poetry class, and we were asked to research a historical phenomenon or time period and relate it to the poems of a poet in the appropriate era. So I thought it would be interesting to look at Puritan sexuality and the poems of Anne Bradstreet.
As it turns out, the poems of Anne Bradstreet, especially the ones she wrote to her husband, are just packed with erotic imagery. And in addition, the Puritans weren't the prudes we tend to think of them as. They valued sexual fulfillment just as much as we do today. In fact, one of the court systems had a law that a woman could petition for a divorce from her husband if she wasn't being sexually satisfied!
The "traditional" view of Puritanism is derived more from the clergy preaching things about lustful bodies burning eternally in unquenchable fires, and not the common populace of the times.
When I started, I didn't know I was going to end up learning so much. I knew that Bradstreet was writing some things that could be read as erotic, but I didn't know that she was culturally validated.
I found this interesting, and I wanted to share. What do you all think? Did/do you have the same sort of preconceptions I had?
I did a lot of historical study for fun. I'm a nut like that. I'd reccomend a book called I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem. She's basically a slave and is taken to the new world, and so forth. I loved the book. It also shows the darker sides of sexuality in her community. If I am not mistaken, it's based on a historical figure.
What I find really interesting is that if a girl's suitor overstayed his welcome and it became dark outside, he was invited to sleep in her bed with her, or with the family in their communal bed. If it was her bed, often a small wall with spikes on it would be placed in between them, but hey. Those can be removed.
Is this a fiction book? Because I know that Tituba was a character in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, which was all about the Salem witch trials. And in that play, Tituba was the one blamed for starting everything by dancing naked with the devil in the forest. Another references to the "dangers" of female sexuality. And I know Miller based most of his characters in people who existed, but I had always thought that Tituba (for some reason) was made up. Thanks!
They didn't mention sewing anything on the History Channel...
I found my copy! I Tituba is by Maryse Conde'. Basically, she is a slave from Barbados, and watches her mother hang for fending off her white rapist. Later, she falls in love with this guy who then gets her into slavery. They go to Salem, and her practices she learned that were tried and true are decided to be witchcraft. Go figure.
That and a host of other things. But yes, they used to put guys into sleeping bag like things and sew them up to the neck. The ultimate condom of sorts... Interestingly, there are several accounts of this not working as a sexual prohibitor, just a safer method... I don't recall what happened to the couple that decided to be sexually active while wearing such a device. I assume they were suitably humiliated or something by the "proper" authorities.
Posts: 50 | From: Austin, TX, USA | Registered: Dec 2003
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