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Morton, Thomas. (ca 1590 - 1647).

L i f e

- colonist in Massachussets, New England, founder of the Merrymount Colony (later Wollaston, now Quincy, Massachusetts)

- a counterpart of the pious Plymouth Protestants: established trade relations with the natives, exchanged furs for liquor and guns, and studied the Native American culture

- considered the Indian culture more "civilized and humanitarian" than that of his "intolerant European neighbours"

- shocked by his celebration of May-Day by dancing and drinking, erecting the May-pole, and inviting the Indians to join the celebration

- the Puritans sent Captain Miles Standish with company to arrest him and deport to England: deported two times, eventually imprisoned in Boston for two years

W o r k

- an adventurous businessman and author of travel writings and satires

The New English Canaan (1637):

- mingles prose x verse

- combines a serious-minded description of the colonised country and the natives x an irreverent satire on the New Plymouth Puritans’ piety and holiness

- includes a chapter on "how not to colonize" in reference to the Puritans


"The riches of which Country I have set forth in this abstract as in a Landskipp, for the better information of the Travellers, which they may peruse; and plainly perceive by the demonstration of it that it is nothing inferior to Canaan of Israel, but a kind of parallel to it, in all points".

From New English Canaan (1637).


(Morton in ca. 1620. Source: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Thomas Morton. (ca. 1590 - 1647). American colonist.
  • Work

    Prose writer. Poet.
  • Genres

    Chronicle. Travel writing. Satire.


Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.

Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American  Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.

Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od  puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.

Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.


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