"'Open thy Mouth Wide, and I will Fill it'

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"'Open thy Mouth Wide, and I will Fill it' Sexual Discourse in the Puritan Execution Sermon"
Grant, Justin R
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University of Florida
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Master's ( M.A.)
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University of Florida
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Schorb, Jodi
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Emery, Kimberly L
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Bestiality ( jstor )
Capital punishment ( jstor )
Cotton ( jstor )
Death ( jstor )
Infanticide ( jstor )
Narratives ( jstor )
Scaffolds ( jstor )
Sin ( jstor )
Warnings ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
danforth -- execution -- puritan -- sermon -- williams
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theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
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Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
English thesis, M.A.


This study investigates the relationship between pre-modern sexual discourse and the body in the late seventeenth century Puritan execution sermon. Using Rev. Samuel Danforth’s The Cry of Sodom Enquired Into (1674) and Rev. John Williams’s Warnings to the Unclean (1699) as the focal points of my study, I demonstrate the unlikely erotic potentials these two texts unbeknowingly authorize by reconsidering the power of sexual language they invoke, from bestial morphologies to metaphors of uncleanness. Central to my analysis of their sermons is a theorization of the criminal bodies that occasion each text. Danforth preached his sermon on the day of Benjamin Goad’s execution for bestiality, and Williams preached his sermon on the day of Sarah Smith’s execution for infanticide. While both Danforth and Williams set out to warn their respective congregations about the dangers of sexual sin, I argue that the bodies of Goad and Smith disrupt the execution sermon’s disciplinary mechanism for public control, and produce unyielding terrains of erotic possibility. Drawing upon legal archives, theological texts, and recent scholarship in early American sexuality studies, I ultimately reveal the interconnected ways the exposed ‘deviant’ body on the scaffold and the public sexual discourse of ministerial intervention produce the formation of distinct sexual imaginaries. ( en )
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2012.
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by Justin R Grant.

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2 2012 Justin R. Grant


3 This project is dedicated in memory to my grandmother, Evelyn Wittek


4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to thank my committee, Jodi Schorb and Kim Emery for their impeccable guidance and support during the research and writing of this project. In particular, I would like to extend my unyielding gratitude to Jodi for working with me every step of the w ay to get this project into its final polished form. Finally, I wish to thank my mother, Claudia Grant, for always encouraging my academic endeavors.


5 T ABLE OF CONTEN TS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 4 A BSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 6 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 7 2 ...................... 19 3 WARNINGS TO THE UNCLEAN ............................. 39 4 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 61 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 63 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 68


6 A bstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts SEXUAL DISCOURSE IN THE PURITAN EXECUTION SERMON By Justin R. Grant May 2012 Chair: Jodi Schorb Major: English This study investigates the relationship between pre modern sexual discourse and the body in the late seventeenth century Puritan execution sermon. The Cry of Sodom Enquired Into Warnings to the Unclean (16 99) as the focal points of my study, I demonstrate the unlikely erotic potentials these two texts unbeknowingly authorize by reconsidering the power of sexual language they invoke from bestial morphologies to metaphors of uncleanness Central to my analysis of their sermons is a theorization of the criminal bodies t hat occasion each text Danforth preached his sermon on the day day ecution for infanticide. While both Danforth and Williams set out to warn their respective congregations about the dangers of sexual sin, I argue that the bodies of Goad and Smith d produce unyielding ter rains of erotic possibility. Drawing up on legal archives, theological texts, and recent scholarship in early American sexualit y studies, I ultimately reveal the interconnected public sexual discours e of ministerial intervention produce the formation of distinct sexual imaginaries.


7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Before arriving to the North American colonies, Thomas Shepard was a student at Cambridge University. He recounts in his journal a memorable night of excess drinking and gaiety at school. Upon waking up the next morning, however, Shepard with beastly peculiar of shame and confusion came over him. As his thoughts of the night bec ame less mu ddled and more lucid, Shepard horrifyingly recalls: I was dead drunk and lived in unnatural uncleanness not to be named and in speculative wantonness and filthiness with all sorts of persons which pleased my eye ( yet still restrained from the gross act of whoredom ) which some of my own familiars were to their horror and shame overtaken with. ( 393 ) Here, sensational speculation may arise in debating what this pre penetrative act and the types (and pleas[ing] persons with whom this young man en gaged But perhaps most striking from this passage are the diverse forms of language Shepard implemen ts to convey his experience and sense of non normative sex ual pleasure in with another inebriated body. Central to his recollection of sinful foreplay is restraint Shepard imagines his body on the precipice or verge of utter abomination. helpful for understanding the language of sex i n pre modern cultural formations, steeped in Calvinist th eology Shepard over him, figuratively symptomatic of virility and contagion. But that experience is also coupled by inferring animalistic imaginings He then elucidates his drunken sexual experience Besides the invocation of these vibrant and perhaps even macabre metaphors, the young man also articulates sex in relati on to fantasy and desire [his] Shepard also alludes


8 offenses on both sides of the Atlantic during the seventeenth century, punishable by death when witness ed penetration could be proved. At the same time, Shepard relates understood to be both an abominable physical act ion and state of consciousness, as a form of whoredom against God and his covenant with Him Lastly, Shepard conveys what it means to be a erotic longing through Perhaps young Shepard mended his sexually lascivious ways when he ar rived to New England. He became a prominent Puritan minister of the Church at Newton, and published an immensely popular religious tract on spiritual conversion titled The Sincere Convert (1641), which went through numerous reprints. In his text, Shepard explains how everyone is a potential perpetrator of sexual sin He writes: Every natural man and woman is born full of all sin, (Rom. i. 29,) as full as a toad is of ons, heresies, that every were vented by any man; thy heart is a foul sink of all atheism, sodomy, blasphemy, murder, whoredom, adultery, witchcraft, buggery; so that, if thou hast any good thing in thee, it is but as a drop of rosewater in a bowl of poiso n; where fallen it is all corrupted. ( 40) Here, experience in his journal and the public discourse he invokes to articulate the warring and vile heart in his religious tract. Shepard reiterates the bestial morphologies Moreover, the rhetoric of abjection forms the cogency of the spiritual tr eatise. Shepard explains the grace of God that prevents a convert from falling into the s framework, following the


9 dominant Calvinist principles of the time, every Puritan body is part of a larger social body that posits all c ongregants as potential perpetrators of sodomitical sin, encompassing acts such as masturbation, buggery, and adultery, The agential and shared inso far as everyone is equally on the cusp of being a sodomite, irrespective of gender or even sexual appetite or taste. At the same time, Shep another direction when he refers to the Al l carnal and worldly desire s fant asies and thought s that divert a congregant from his or her relationship with God comprise what we may call the While this project is not explicitly about Thomas Shepard or his night of intoxicated sexual romping his commentary is instrumental for introducing the complexities of being a sexual body in Puritan culture. For Shepard, his entrance into sexual awareness and his experience of sexual sensation is mediated throu gh the language of Calvinist theological rhetoric, which he learned from ministers and religious texts. By becoming a minister himself, Shepard then replicates this sexual information to his congregants in a continuous cycle of knowledge production and aut horization. Shepard certainly heeded the cautions of his ministers by restraining his body when he was on the brink of falling victim to takes up two Puritans who crossed t he threshold of sexual border s in seventeenth century New England and who were subsequently executed for their lascivious crimes Benjamin Goad was con victed and hanged for buggery (also sometimes referred to as a form of sodomy and commonly known today as bestiality) in 1674, a nd Sarah Smith was convicted and hanged for murdering her bastard child in 1699. of


10 Roxbury preached an execution sermon titled The Cry of Sodom Enquired Into documenting a vast terrain of deviant sexual cr imes that lead an individual into heinous and sinful transgression. titled Warnings to the Unclean abominable uncleanness, even driving one to commit infanticide. In this project, I demonstrate the unlikely erotic potential s of The Cry of Sodom and Warnings to the Unclean While both sermons present explicit and didactic arguments about what not to do, each text I will demonstrate, proliferate s and inculcate s a counter discourse o f sexual possibility. This counter discourse has the potential to stir the erotic imaginary of Puritan spectators and readers. While Danforth and Williams use similar language and metaphors to illustrate the perils of sexual transgression the semantics of uncleanness, bestial anxiety, and abjection resonant in the Shepard archive I argue that the bodies of Goad and Sm ith disrupt the from erotic longing to sexual fantasy. I examine how the bodies of Goad and Smith, being on the power to Puritan witnesses. It is precisely in the performative interplay of the exposed body on the scaffold and the public sexual discourse of ministerial intervention that incites such queer readings of the Puritan execution ritual. Moreover, to clarify how bestiality and whoredom fit into the sexual imagination of late seventeenth century Puritan culture in New England. This is done in order to demonstrate uthorizes sermon unintentionally deploys a then, are figures such as


11 Thomas Shepard who privately reflect upon their sexual desires fantasies and pleasures, always on the cusp of spiritual and physical erotic inebriation. To date, no scholar has adequately explored the erotic potentials of the Puritan body on the scaffold during the execution ritual. Quite for mulaically, most histor ians, literary, and cultural critics, such as Karen Halttunen collectively contend Murder Most Foul: The Killer and the American Gothic Imagination Halttunen details most eloquently the manifest Calvinist symbolism of the Puritan execution. She writes: The New England execution aimed ritualistically to achieve reconciliation between the criminal and the community whose most powerful mores he or she had violated. The prisone sacrificial role analogous to that of Christ by dying publicly and ignominiously for an act rooted in a sinfulness that was shared by all. (25) So if the role of the convic t was to act we will later see the role of the execution sermon and minister was to in. In his book Hanging Between Heaven and Earth: Capital Crimes, Execution Preaching, and Theology in Early New England Scott Seay explains cution preachers He observes that ministers the execution n the community ( 83). Lastly, Seay argues that until approximately 1700, ministers relied on the death penalty (166). Thus, scholars of the genre


12 overwhelming ly focus on the criminal bo pedagogical function, and not its erotic possibilities. Moreover, scholars have also addressed the vast performative aspects of the Puritan execu tion ritual role th e gallows and his or her last words and final warnings on the scaffold Lethal Theatre: Performance, Pun Dwight Conquergood ex plores the parts the spectator and convict played in the formal penal ceremony He most poignantly argues c body on the scaffold, (471). Clarifying further, Conquergood ex plains: the sentence of death had to be executed s body], so [did] the signs of grace [have] to be manifested bodily In this way, gesture, carriage, tonal ] intervention and graces (471). Execution audiences were thus He argues: This way of seeing encouraged a deeply sympathetic, theatrical identification in which the spectators could imaginatively exchange places with the condemned, instead of holding themselves aloof in distanced judgment. The ideal spectator at executions becam e a deeply engaged, co performative witness. (472) in the execution ritual. By positioning the he exemplifie s the role of the audience to react and engage with the condemned in a series of complex semiotic and pedagogical approaches. While Halttunen, Seay and Conquergood are useful for broadly understanding the Puritan execution sermon and ritual Joseph Fichtelberg


13 of spectator participation help us to further consider what these visual and aural displays of punishment and restraint afford. In his book Risk Culture: Performance & Danger in Early America Fichtelberg drawing upon the scholarship of Charle s Cohen, argues that spectators ed that silently disclosed 53 4). In addition, Puritan sermons [can be] read for their communal effects Fichtelberg aid u s in visualiz ing the affective meaning making potentials of the condemned body on the scaffold, which he argues are collective feelings for witnesses mediated by the minister. However, as I argue throughout this project, the proliferation of sexual possibility lies control both in the case of Danforth and Williams concern of my study. To provide further historical contextualization on the execution sermon I trace the Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries the Puritan execution sermon was an immensely popular form of crimina l and gallows literature in the colonies. T hese published sermons not only reached a wide geographic area, but also a diverse reade rship population as well, spanning across class and social ranks ( Cohen 5). From the period of 1674 1699, nine execution sermons were published in New England That number would surge to over two hundred across the eighteenth century These sermons responded to capital crimes that ranged from infanticide and bestiality, to servant uprising and murder Besides the Danforth and Williams texts addressed in this project, some of


14 the other well k nown Speedy Repentance Urged (1690), The Imp enitent Sinners Warned of their Misery and Summoned to Judgment (1698), and The Folly of Sinning (1699). The latter two respond to the high profile case of Sarah Threeneedles who, like Smith, was convicted and executed for murdering her illegitimate child. Imperative for understanding how The Cry of Sodom and Warnings to the Unclean can be read and thought of as literary texts, it is useful to explain the structural form, style, and similar thematic trends of the genre Execution sermons varied insignificantly in structure from other types of Puritan sermons. In Pillars of Salt, M onuments of Grace Daniel A. Cohen observes the consistent lit erary form execution sermons took. First, a minister begins his sermon by introducing his text, and then proceeds to offer his congregants a passage or story from the Bible. He subsequently takes that biblical passage or story and uses it as evidence to derive a the minister proceeds to ative points, ministers and solemn occasion on which they were writing ( Cohen 7). In addition execution sermons were oftentimes appended with the s confession, last words and occasionally a documentary account of the actual execution. structure and form in the New England colonies and useful for the scope of this project given the timeframe discussed spans from 1674 1699 Cohen also notes that execution sermons published during the early decades of eighteenth century were however, sometimes inconsistent with this framework


15 He claims this was due in part to publishers attempting to sensationalize the crime with intricate elaborations and details Yet, as new and alternative forms of gallows literature emerged, such as crime ballads and conversion narratives, the execution sermon retained its original premise as for the pulpit Thus, we can for explaining the broad structural form of the execution sermons of Danforth and Williams This is done in order to demonstrate the manifest co ntent of t hese texts Danforth begins The Cry of Sodom by which ser s ultimate purpose is to theorize how a young servant was discovered sodomizing a mare, but in the process, it must make all spectators worried for th eir own sa lvation, and must make audience s feel as if they, t oo, could easily slip s path of sin, without the protective grace of God. Danforth explains : The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven Bec ause a sexual He [God] gave [Goad] up to uncleanness, vile prac tises, [and] to vile affections (1). Thus, Danforth is explaining how God has completely withdrawn his divine graces from Goad, which simultaneously serves as justificati authorization for the delivery of his sermon. He then proceeds to explain the sexual pollution found in the biblica l cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which serves as the biblical story he uses to develop his thesis Sodom and Gomorrah because as they were the most notable and famous for estate Then, Danforth uses the story the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to develop his thesis. His overarching point is that sin is not merely a haphazard or isolated occurrence.


16 Rather, Goad sin and which Danforth posits as a steppingstone for becoming another Sodom (2). By developin into a set for his congregants, such as avoiding Disobedience Irreligion and Profaneness Danforth can u l e to curb and restrain the rest of our Youth, (18). He urges his Sword In this manifest light, Danforth fully exercises his a uthor ity to punish Goad, while also preventing the community from falling into heinous transgression. Similarly, Williams begins Warnings to the Unclean by offering an address to his ves as the intro Here, the text is ultimately seeking to explain how a woman could conceal a pregnancy and murder an illegitimate child, while also making all congregants male and female feel equally at risk and culpable. Williams argues that sin introduces a biblical passage from th Williams explains: f miseries, 2 King That the Children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right in the sight of the Lord serves as precursory evidence for sexual relations, prompted Smith to commit infanticide. murder her bastard child and attempt to conceal the crime was caused by her whorish behavior, Willia death:


17 By before other bodies and the land become enticed and fal l second is h is explanation of all whorish both male and female He elucidates: doings into another world with them. Those that commit Adultery, and walk in Lies, will be as Sodom to instructions and exhortations to whorishness. In this manifest light, Williams fully exercises his authorit y to punish Smith, and dutifully warns and prevents others from engaging in such lascivious behavior. Before moving on to develop my extended analyses of the two sermons and bodies of Smith and Goad, a final point to address is the Puritan conception of the sanctified body. Because so much of this project is devoted to non conforming bodies, it is useful to visualize the construction of normativity in the Puritan consciousness In his captivity narrative titled Memoirs of Odd Adventures (1736) John Gyles warns : A (212). For the Puritans, a sanctif ied body meant a pure soul. In A Model l of Christian Charity (1630), John 39 ). e 45 ). Thus, the sanctified Puritan body is one that must restrain itself from any form of w orldly corruption that disrupts this unity. This theological contextualization illustrates the anxieties Pu rita n ministers experienced when individuals, such as Smit h and Goad, interrupted the utopian spiritual body. But as Rev.


18 Samuel Whiting optimistically proclaims in (1666): Co uld any good come out of Sodom ? Abraham does not altogether despair of it ; Peradventure (layes he) there be fifty righteous within the City ( 1). While Whiting is referring to Sodom as a thoroughly control and restrain. The bodies of Smith and Goad are branded not only as unclean and abject on the scaffold and in their respective execution sermons, but they are also chaotically disruptive to the Puritan social order. As I will now illustrate, t he se resistant to the forces that rigorously attempt to scrub them out.


19 CHAPTER 2 It was an assumedly mild afternoon in the Massachusetts Bay Colony on February 7, 1673 at noon, when an individual walking past a field witnessed a horrifying scene an adolescent was penetrating a mare (Cronin 10). At the age of seventeen, Benjamin Goad, a native of Roxbury in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was arrested and brought to court on charges of buggery accused of copulating with a mare in broad daylight a capital offense in Puritan New England (Cohen 103). In a scrutinizing examina tion before his trial, young Goad confessed to the omplex in proving evidence for a guilty verdict and death penalty punishment. As Richard Godbeer notes, jurisdictions in New England required two witnesses for a conviction of buggery, which was interchangeably used i n sodomy laws many ministers debate at length the issue of History of Plymouth Plantation (1656). The nes for conviction (397). Only one individual came forth stating (Cronin 10). On March 1 4th of the same year, Goad was found guilty on all charges, and according to Cronin 14). Customarily


20 t on particularly heinous and disruptive Following Leviticus 20: 15 16, ministers vehemently demanded execution of the victimized beast because of the disr uptive potential in the natural order (man becoming beast), in addition to the fear of possible demonic impregnation. In fact, a bestiality (Hoadly 577). This ritualistic procedure for dealing with sexually violated animals was implemented throughout the New England colonies. seventeenth century New England. For example, George Spencer, a one eyed man from New Haven, was accused of buggery in 1641. Compelling testimony to his guilt was brought before Browning had recently sold a sow to John Wakefield, a planter. When the swine gave birth, Goodwife Browning was met with a horrifying discovery white 47). She also noticed that the demonic piglet had a deformed Cyclopes like eye, which looked similar this abomination, at t first [Spencer] said he had nott done itt [but then later] answered he had Reis


21 le Goad was found guilty of bestiality because his abject sexual act was witnessed, Spencer was found guilty because he confessed and the product of his abject sexual act wa s revealed. In both cases, the of the sexual crime was inscribed onto bodie s and legally verified by confession. lewd and villainous sexual crime, Rev. Samuel Danforth, a Puritan minister and associate pastor of the church at Roxbury the congregation that Goad was converted into pres ided over the execution. Before Goad ascended the scaffold for public hanging, Danforth preached to his congregation the dangers and perils of sexual misconduct in the first known and published execution sermon in the British North American colonies, title d The Cry of Sodom Enquired Into (Cambridge, 1674). Following Puritan legal doctrine, steeped in morality, ministers such as Danforth believed public executions restored the health and stability of a community. For example, delivering a sermon on the occas s anxiety ridden words is the spiritual duty of the convict to reconcile with God and his or her community in a civic setting the scaffold. Public executions served as a means of warning spectators about the dangers of capital sin, and to demonstrate the a bsolute authority of the State. From the consciousness. Central to


22 in his very soul (Foucault, Discipline and Punish dispise the meanes of Reis Reis participants when the criminal authorized and internalized his guilt and due punishment (Foucault, Discipline and Punish 44). Most intriguingly, the moment of occurs when the noose is placed around his neck. It is a temporal moment before his expiration. Similarly, during hanging in a moment of time before his demise which is a wa y of understanding his body as and impulses are seldom mentioned in the sermon, his body is sexually signifying on both the scaf merely serve as a disciplinary mechanism for prompting sexual normativity in spectators. Rather, power, count er discursively codifying the possibility of unregulated sexual desires and propensities for the spectators. Thus, in this ch body, in part articulated through a narrative of monstrous fluid spillage into an illici Rev. John Cotton in his catechism Spiritual Milk for Babes


23 proliferating knowledge of erotic fantasy, and serves as an early discourse of sexual propensity sermon, while made hyper visible through the theatricality of the scaffold and the participatory engagement of communal spectatorship onto the beyond the a nd how that knowledge, or truth producing power, functi in order to better clarify how both texts operate to produce a counter discourse of sexual possibility. n cultural artifact of bestial anxiety caused by the perpetual fear of unknown wilderness and is a geographically and spatially oriented play on the sodomitical imaginary in the Puritan 23). Yet, both scholars seem to curtail dis Throughout The Cry of Sodom Enquired Into Danforth reinforces the communality and shar emphasizing the centrality of stric t, scriptural from which his cong regation directly descended unrighteousness of men, who imprison the truth in unrighteou Sexual Revolution


24 tions are useful for understanding Calvinist theology and the absence of agency Puritans tangibl y felt. dominant discourses of sodomy in the seventeenth century col So domitical Sin, 1607 1740 Jonathan Ned Katz explains that Puritans did not punish had an inherent sense of sexual proclivit y to their being. Codified co nceptions of sexual identity back to G prove accurate (Katz 53). Da kno wn phrase from John Winthrop, the Puritan mission could crumble if the collective social body becomes poisoned in A Brief Recognition of New Englands Errand into the Wilderness (1670). Danforth pr likens the Puritans to the Israel


25 abominatio n. Thus, convictions of sodomy were considered particularly grave. This was not only B sodomy most peculiarly, bestiality flooded the courts throughout New England (236). From 1642 1662, six men were executed for buggery. From the period of 1673 1692, only four cases of bestiality were reported in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Two of the cas es were acquitted, one never made it to trial, 1662 bestiality trials in relation to the Salem witch proceedings. He explains that as the momentous hunt for satanic demon s fueled the c olonial mind, anxieties over the human becoming nonhuman was a particularly grievous concern for the Puritans. In Sexual Revolution in Early America (2002), Richard Godbeer notes the hysterics s urrounding interspecies sex in c olonial America: (112). In Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), seen him confounding himself with a bitch keep it secret: bu bitch im hideously conversing with a sow ). Indeed, bestiality d more


26 stringent repercussions were oftentimes enforced ( Godbeer, Sexual Revolution 67). The temporal, historically contingent moment of inhuman, devilish fears gives reasonable evidence turned animal mayhem. It per haps may not come as a surprise that Danforth subsequently sets out to warn the The Cry of Sodom but this knowledge is contingent upon the to act on this knowledge foreclosing an y participatory fantasies execution serve as a regulatory force for policing congregational bodies in the private sphere. While Danforth suggests that spectators may heinous and atrocious dangers of sexual modern Foucauldian e of sex (acts that Danforth speaks of is sweeping all sexual acts outside of marital, monogamous procr eative xual terms As Foucault articulates, regulation upon the subject ( Discipline and Punish 136). Foucault takes up the notion of productive sites for disciplinary mechanisms of


27 control. While Foucault is theorizing the role of institutional discipline and punishment upon the an apparatus narrative potentials. the spectators. Goad is not merely a body occupying a liminal space a t the margin or fringe of Puritan society, but a material body that is identifiable and perhaps even relatable. Directed inclined to all matters of sins. Every imaginati on of the thoughts of the heart of man Sodomites remarks illustrate the interior dilemma of spiritual life in Calvinist theology, which Richard Godbeer is referring to when ( Sexual Revolution 64) To summarize succinctly, this interior dilemma is that all are born into sin and corrup tion. By drawing attention to the potential sodomitical bodies in the meeting house pews, doc body to signal and police other forms of sexual abjection beyond the bestial sins for which Goad is being sentenced to death Steeped in Calvinist tradition, Puritan theologians, such as Danforth, anxiously viewed the body as weak, chaotic, and Complete Body of Divinity (1726), Rev. Samuel Willard reconciles the body a Organs


28 arousals and practices, wandering minds when bodies are unrestrained. Thus, from Danfort serves an apparatus to inculcate regimes of discipline upon all public and private bodi es and thoughts. However, it is important to examine what Danforth believes his sermon is doing and his docile body, view. One of the most interesting and significant qualities educate his listeners on a vast array of illicit sexual practices. So for example, Danforth defines Consanguinity, or affin terrain of illicit practices articulated by Danforth can be thought of as providing a private sexual imagination for the intrigued and whispering congregational members. Most ironically, the public discourse Danforth invokes to describe sex and sexual acts are in empirical terms of classification, using scripture not only as a means of producing re ality, but also as a way of mediating definitional boundaries of erotic sexual practices. He gives his congregation a vocabulary for ways of talking about sex, albeit in religious terminology to justify criminality and punishment. We can read this exchange in The History of Sexuality


29 through tedious religious study, a congregant hearing his teachings may pu t his lessons to practice. Illustrated here is what Foucault explains beyond his control ( History of Sexuality 34). Power shif ts from the ministerial apparatus to the private chambers of curious congregants and even extending outward to the open fields The sermon thus illustrates alternative sexual possibilities while advocating for normative, reproductive sex. So while Danfort h arduously recounts the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah in discursively providing the licensed or authorized and most importantly, deployed (3). o way to document any alternative sexual knowledge that a congregant may have taken away. However, other similar court cases from the time period History of Plymouth Plantation (1656) i s the case of Thomas Granger. Similar to Benjamin Goad, Granger was about ( Bradford 397). Bradford subsequent response holds key evidence for imagining the sexual possibilities spectators may


30 out bestiality] by an other that had heard of such things from some in England when he was ther, and they kept catle togeather. By which it knowledge is shaped by the exte pinpoint a linea r narrative of contagion, it abruptly stops when the Atlantic crossing occurs. ustrated here is the proliferation of a sexual discourse that is a chain reaction of bodies mingling with one another through the exchange of language and physical experimentation induction into abject sexual knowledge as the point of infection. Then, his desire to enact that burial serves as a precautionary measure to prevent the disease from spreading and other bodies from becoming infected. Reframing Bradfo filth, and scrubbing as a way for explaining the containment of sexual pollution among until it hath spued out this Unclean Beast. The execution of Justice upon such a notorious


31 Goad as a bestial body Because t he Land and Chu rch ought of as the removal t b odies, which Danforth vigorously attempts to scrub out. into monste rs. If the incitement to this formative knowledge is understood and experienced through highly infe ctious language among discourse producing bodies, nobody seems immune or curable. What we are left with are resistant bodies, such as Goad and Granger, who e xperience side effects to this knowledge. Taking up this language of hygienics, Danforth con ceptualizes all sexual sins as In her book Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America Kathleen M. deviant] criminals allowed ministers to minimize the abstraction in the metaphor of the unclean body and to explain graphically the danger sinners sexually transgressi disease and contagion ( The Cry of Sodom represented as viral and contagious a powerful force that must be quelled. to all facets of Puritan religious culture and writing. For example, William J. Bouwsma observes


32 hings of Cotton Mather, Kathleen Brown explains that ministers used metaphors of uncleanness and pollution in order to better explain how sin impacts the body, rendering it spiritually impure and festering (86). Congregants then internalized these metaphor s to give language to their experiences of sex and the body. For example, Joseph Moody wrote in his journal on (qtd. in Carroll 1 68). The mediation of sexual practice for Moody and many Puritans, then, was action. The Cry of Sodom s sinful hist transgression is imagined through a ( Danfo rth 22 wickedness caused by internal dilemmas of morality are suggestively conceptualized through the act of being and becoming the beast. Although Goad is seldom addressed in The Cry of Sodom his body functions as an ethereal force


33 and his or her enactment stie, and a th ereby disrupt the social order and community relations beyond reprieve in which death is the om and whoremongers. He illustrates Puritan understandings of t he natural order, while at t he same time eroticizes bodily flesh and friction. to Self pollution, and other Sodomitical wickedness. He often attempted Buggery with sev eral Beasts, before God left him to commit it: at last God gave him over to it, and he continued in the through the language of repetition and agonizing sexual struggle s. His non normative body does not merely serve as a haunting space of gendered anxiety. Rather, his body becomes an affective space of desire and longing by visually embodying a chain of illicit erotic exchanges between new and old England, between man an d beast, which Danforth frames in terms of shame.


34 We can examine the social and collective experience of sexual shame that Danforth seem to sanction by explaining its reverse liberatory potentials. As Michael Warner poignan tly ecause abjection is understood to be [a] shared condition, Trouble with Normal 35). Indeed, because Danforth sexual fa not only a n a historical moment in Puritan culture framed around anxieties of monstrosity and impurity, but also affords new ways for thinking through the collective social body and sex as Danforth goes on to describe a vast terrain of sexual behaviors that are imagined through Marriage bed, and most impurely defiled himsel narrative of uncontrollable phallocentric ejaculations. He suggests the impossibility of the the vice of men. Danf orth even addresses the psychosexual, perhaps even pre Freudian (modern), Cotton Mather states in The Pure Nazarite


35 and no n normative sex more generally sexual shame is a public affair that is always already linked ont (Pensky 2). Hence, those feelings of erotic loss may be wider spread as the minds of the spectators wander. Danforth subsequently develops a section of his serm (also referred to as bestiality) as mutually parties of the same Sex: when Males and he offers the same gender neutral premise in cases of bestiality ( The Cry of Sodom 5). As Richard Godbeer and other cultural critics have noted, this is of particular significance because convicti on of sodomitical crimes in Puritan New England were explicitly based on witnessed penetrative sex. Thus, Danforth opens up an imaginative terrain of penetrative possibility beyond sertions, Rev. Francis Higginson describes the first documented case of sodomy, which occurred onboard the


36 Sodomiticall boys, which confessed their wickedness not to bee n English Literatures indicating their deprave d monstrous. In a perhaps orgiastic scene of y outhf testimony for their own conviction at the mercy of divine law. America, such as the well documented 1646 New Haven bestiality trial of Thomas Hogg, suggest evidence to th is reading. Modes and forms of penetration appeared to occupy the Puritan sexual consciousness. The image of the sodomite that Danforth depicts degenders its cultural imaginary as exclusive male abjection, and charts newly contested terrain regarding women intimacies and modes of touch and sensuality. T hus, D anforth s g ender queer sexual discour se is licensed during the execution ritual moving beyond Fouca a nd enters into the realm of personal, emotive, and political. a social body bestial body adolescent body legal body longing body sexual body contagious body private body and discourse producing body. Yet, perhaps most critically


37 turbulent history, then, lies within the signification his body affords on the scaffold and in the sermon. cution, the body has produced the visual display of public suffering, enacting an interpretative semiotic and aural schema between the condemned and the onlook er ( Discipline and Punish 47). More concisely stated, exposed body on t spirituality are theatrically represented in the spatial proximity to justify the enactment of the ame time, a face of exuberant excessiveness outside of the normative adding one more spectral corpse to the rich and haunting history of sexual deviancy in pre modern culture. Indeed, the historical circumstances surround insight into the social, cultural, religious, and political dimensions of Puritan New England. This is achieved not only through civic engagement in the execution sermon ritual, but also through iminalize and punish Goad for his disruptive actions. In addition, North America, tied to complex conceptions of the body and feeling. Although contextualized ar of erotic fantasy, insomuch he continually, though inadvertently, provides his listeners with a glimpse into alternative sexual practices.


38 i n ma nifest terms seeks to describe deviant acts through the lens of biblical teaching, and to illustrate, using the words of William Bradford, the origins of ( 459 ) a reverse discursive move occurs throughout his writing that carves new ways for imagining sexual possibility. While The Cry of Sodom was explored by revealing how t I now move on to examine how the Warnings to the Unclean delivered on the


39 CHAPTER 3 WARNINGS TO THE UNCLEAN In 1693, Martin Smith and his wife, Sarah, moved from New Jersey to Deerfield, Massachusetts (Boltwood and Judd 269). Cotton Mather speculates their move to Deerfield was prompted by communal castigation because of an adulterous affair Sarah committed ( Magnalia Christi Americana 4 8 ). Several months after their relocation, however, Ma rtin was captured by Native Americans and sent to New France, now August 4, 1694, she entered a complaint to the autho reportedly witnessed the act, documenting the exact location of the crime, no legal actions were taken against Evans and th e charges were dropped. Nearly four years later, on January 11, 1698, Smith gave birth to an illegitimate child and then asphyxiated the infant to death. In Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), Rev. Cotton Mather with much Obstinacy deny and conceal her being rs found it out 48 ). Smith was subsequently arrested and held in jail while awaiting her trial, which took place sever al months later when her husband could be present According to court records: At a meeting of the Council in Boston, Aug. 8, 1698, Upon information given by His murderi ng her bastard child. Ordered and appointed that a court of Assize and General Gaol Delivery be held and kept at Springfield within said county of Hampshire by the Justices, upon Thursday, the eighteenth of the present month of August for the trial of said Sarah Smith. (Sheldon 263)


40 Three judges from the Superior Court of Boston, Wait Winthrop, Elisha Cooke, and Samuel Sewall presided over the scandalous trial. Moreover, the judges were accompanied by a battalion of twenty six soldiers due to fear o f potential Native American attacks during their journey to Springfield. infanticide cases. At the hearing, the allegations against Smith were read aloud to her by the foreman, John Holyoke. He stated: bastard child did bring forth alive being led by the ins tigation of the devil, between the hours of one and seven a clock afternoon of the same day, withholding her natural affection, neglected and refused all necessary help to preserve the life of said child, and with intent to conceal her Lewdness the said ch ild did strangle and smother. (Sheldon 263 64) Smith entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. However, a jury of twelve men brought in a Before Smith ascended the scaffold for public hanging on August 25th, John Williams of Deerfield preached to his congregation the dangers of sexual promiscuity in his four hour execution sermon, titled Warnings to the Unclean Tellingly in mon, Smith is on trial for whoredom, not infanticide. important


41 Thus, this chapter begins by exploring why the greater evil, whoredom, was a such a both physical and spiritual adultery against proscribed relat ions with God and family. Important distinguished here as giving oneself over to any force that inverts spiritual and social hierarchy. s as a disruptive potential to both the public execution ritual and the t extends beyond its premise of castigating abject maternal bodies, and interrogates the limits of gendered and sexual borderlands. To begin, both infanticide and whoredom were sins invested with complex meanings in Puritan culture. Writing on the Puritan execution sermon in Executing Race: Early American 3) She explains that infanticide narratives became an outlet for way for doing so (26). This was especially pressing because by 1700 cases of premarital pregnancy were rising exponentially in the colonies (Schorb 295). This phenomenon prompted


42 conception, birth, and death of an infant became a way for ministers to link infanticide to gender and to control unbound and dissolute bodies. She argues that infanticide trials revealed the eptacles of immorality [that] concealed sin witchcraft proceedings (35). usefu l contextualized history for understanding the stigmatized position of women in late ns of prominently servants and widows bear a significant resemblance to those accused of infanticide in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Servants and widowed women in Puritan ermon, published in 1699, serves as an early artifact or example to this claim. While Harris provides foundational claims about the historical circumstances surrounding in the aftermath of the witchcraft trials, her arguments are limiting because she neglects to address the tangible role the infanticide played in these texts and how whoredom was not merely a physical


43 sexual misconduct, but through a se ries of shifts and associations a cautionary tale about men, male zeal, and male ministers faithful ness to their male congregant. Moreover, I will argue the languag e used in many witchcraft sermons rather than the mere ly paranoid female monstrosity that Harris contends. sermon. It is important to explain this silence in order to underst and how the infant functions in Women Who Kill Ann Jones explores the religious teachings surrounding infanticide in early America. Puritan theologians taught that when a woman murders her unbaptized infant, she also kills the babe according to Calvinist doctrine (Jones 77). Jones most poignantly observes that ministers often a resonant claim that holds va but she provides no explanation for this silence. One possible explanation, as Martha Sexton argues in s Moral Values in Early America : ense of e perpetrator represents an imminent threat to the masculinist order that must be vigorously cleansed. While Jones and Sexton provide fruitful discussions of the spiritual and social dynamics of infanticide, their observations and arguments are shortsight ed because their focus on explore the wider social and theological threat of infanticide. Useful for shedding light on the


44 ath in the Puritan execution sermon, Rev. Thomas Foxcroft explains in Lessons of Caution to Young Sinners (1733), delivered on the occasion of a young Woman to dest roy the fruit of her own Body, that she might avoid the Scandal of a the universal Puritan body st Hence, the body of the deceased infant fu sexual degeneracy. The minister suggests a linear narrat ive to which a woman falls into uncleanness. Excessive pride leads to whoredom, whi ch is made public and tangibly felt by the and illicit whorishness in the publi c space of the execution sermon is of vital significance for illustrating (sexual) sinful decay, and to police congregational bodies (supposedly) heeding his cautions. Warnings to the Unclean operates on the same ideological premise While Foxcroft believes pride leads a woman into whoredom, Williams asserts idl eness and roots of the grievous sin. In either case, the infanticide is imagined as there was abundance of Uncleanness in Sodom, and that because there was abundance of Idleness. Ezek. 16.49. Be aware of drinking away your precious time: Drunkenness ushers in is caused by indolence. For the minister, the body of the whorish perpetrator is imagined by its


45 very excess, and articula ted through a metaphor of bodily consumption. Too much free time this presupposes that an individual drinks too much alcohol, which leads to adultery, and finally to murder. The Puritan fear of being an d becoming Sodom illustrated in my previous chapter on nful whores, which Harris, Sexton, and Jones all seem to gloss over and leave silent. In Puritan the ology, whoredom was not merely linked to physicality but also to spirituality of it, but onely in respect of the object of it, to wit, in respect of the infinite God, against whom it is the Puritan convert should feel in their covenant with Christ. Cotton explains that any worldly affection for Christ is a s also remarkable that witchcraft is generally in scripture joined with spiritual whoredom, i.e. More Wonders 202). Or Michael Wigglesworth who reflects upon his nocturnal of my cursed Puritans believed that the infinite love Christ shares with them must always be mutually reciprocated as the supreme object of worship for fear of the


46 for imagining the implications infanticide had on the Puritan minister. Regardless of gender, image appears repeatedly in Puritan rhetoric, as does another cross gendered image that of metaphorical sucking spiritual nourishment out of his reverent breast the troublesome potentials of infanticide are particularly alarming and sig nificant. In his own body, it is a defiling of that which should be the temple of God; it is a Sin loathsome in itself, and makes those who are guilty of it, loaths ome to God, and to man too, when it is gendered depiction of whoredom and violating and disrupting the body of the perpetrator, but also other bodies as well, both real and spiritual. In this light, we can view Sarah Smith as simultaneously transforming from a feeder off Williams and rejecting her maternal role as an actual nursing body to her infant. Smith is a physical and spiritual murder of holy sustenance that is imagined in Warnings to the Unclean These metaphors of minister ial nursing, metaphorical milk, and congregational sucking in Williams w ould have been aware and immersed in this conversion rhetoric, and perhaps explains the unintentional whorish erotics of his text. As Thomas Shepard, Jr. explains in Eye Salve


47 ant is] a nurse sensitive to the congregational mouths s duty even in discomfort. Moreover, John Cotton explains in The Bloody Tenent kingdoms of the Lord (Revelation 11:15) it is not by making Christ a temporal king, but by making temporal kingdoms nursing fa at the rapture, spiritual milk will squirt and flow, putting out the fire of damnation at the Day of Judgment. Thus, these perverse images of cross gendered maternalism could be read as through the language of pollution. Smith has let the spiritual milk spoil and coagulate in her To date, most scholars, such as Kathleen most Puritan witnesses would have in which the infanticide nar ways that made the female body the standard for most kinds of b (87 ). narratives discussed earlier in this chapter. An even more resonant and far reaching argument is proposed by Teresa Toulouse. She


48 wages of spiritual degradation. In Royal Au thority in Colonial New En gland Toulouse term from border between the inside and the outside of the individual female fornicator or non fornicator 157). Toulouse me suggest incredibly useful for carving out a new interpretation border disruption. While both Brown and Toulouse implicitly where the body of the female infanticide perpetuator signifies spiritual/social/communal rotting they fail to address is sexually signifying beyond (morality), and thus does not merely serve as a victimized tool for communal regulation. tic. In discursively transformed into an erotic taxonomy in the s, filthy communications, idleness, intemperance, by which the body is inflamed, and modesty banished; the command that forbids body of Smith is marked its excess. To


49 and on the brink of fluid seepage. counter intoxicated passions to uninhibited desires. The spectators could be imagined as inebriated by a Most strikingly, the l sermon. Midwife testimony during her trial also revealed similar language patterns. For example, the sheete that which caused [me] to tell her that it could not be so oozing, and shaking. Beneficial for establishing the momentous impact the Smith case had on the Puritan legal and social conscious Pillars of Salt (1699) takes up the Smith archive in this seminal work. In his text, Mather traces some of the most influential and pivotal criminal cases in the seventeenth century British North America n Magnalia Christi Americana and resistant body is also vigorously pursued by Mather. Attempti ng to reconstruct her fall into


50 Father in ed earlier in this chapter. To reiterate, she explains that the infanticide perpetrator represents a symbolic and physical threat to patriarchal hierarchy. icit resistance to authority. Although Mather acknowledges and agrees with nd made a Mather writes: She slept both at the Prayer and the Sermon, in the publick Assembly on the Day of her f any in the Assembly; professing therewithal, That she could not but wonder her own Unconcernedness. At her Execution her self, and that she would warn all others t o be aware of the Sins that had brought her unto this miserable end. (48) shifting use of a e at once ause there is so much to be affects


51 Nevertheless, the linkage between sleep and whorishness potenti al dreams that may enable her to resist the reality of the penal machine and spectacular body on the scaffold unsuccessfully manifests/reproduces power relations, and is thus rendered an incomplete exercise of authority. Her body and actions are a disruptive force for e xec ution of justice to be enacted and carried through effectively, cleanly, smoothly, and the execution, the body [of the condemned] produce[s] and reproduce[s] the ( Discipline and Punish moments, which the guilty [wo]man no longer has anything to lose, are won for the full light of truth and the enactment of justice are regrettably incoherent during the ritualistic performance of er public confession and unto her self, and that she would warn all others to be aware of the Sins that had brought her unto Magnalia Christ i Americana 48). Here, there is an implicit feeling or sense


52 Rat discursively imposed o to us illustrates the widespread Hearted Women: Se ntiment and the Scaffold on the other, the ministerial apparatus implemented for spiritually cleansing Smith still renders Pun Dwight Conquergood explores the participatory when they recognized true penitence then they could interpretively reframe the hideous torture of a hanging [to the spectators] into a the earthly scene of capital is


53 an abrasive and resistant force to the theological and social practices and goals of the Puritan execution, and also serves as a stark contrast to her disruptive, open, and chaotic body. For Mather, he is unable to readily and fully articulate a combati and impervious positionality. Mather leaves his reader with little solace, only observing that she Magnalia Christi Americana 48). hearted obduracy, but both texts are variations of a Puritan spiritual crisis. Yet, in i in many ways, a temporal Puritan locale first textually conceived by John Winthrop in A Model l of Christian Charity the eies of all people are uppon us e shall deal e falsely with our God in this work e we e ha ue e shall be made a story and a by word th r Winthrop 47 ). Here, Winthrop suggests the always imm inent global mockery that will ensue if Puritan bodies and spiritually devoted in their covenant with God. Echoing Winthrop, with greater c imagery of light This is done not only to ad as a ns inhabit a cause o f the great turmoil the elect have been forced to endure and


54 is a space that is continually under attack by those outside, worldly forces. This interpretation certainly gains credence given the turbulent warring climate of the 1690s when Smith was tried and executed for infanticide, which I am positioning as both a threat and Indian Wars, which was a dispute between the French and English over control of the colonies. Battles sparked between the French and Ir oquois in Western New York and between the English and French on the Hudson Bay. These attacks by New France now Canada were instrumental in the British militarization of the colonies ( Eames 15 ). Bloodshed was not merely isolated to New York. In Deerfield Massachusetts where Williams and Smith resided disputes between the English and French over control of the Connecticut Valley waged violently. The town was located in a shallow and exposed valley often traveled by the Algonquin and Iroquois tribes. Outsi de of Deerfield, there was nothing but an armed camp in fear of French and Native American invasions. And by February of 1704 just five years after Williams pre ached Warnings to the Unclean one hundred and forty two Mohawks and Abenakis, followed by two hundred French troops, attacked Deerfield and killed fifty six English settlers and over one hundred others were taken captive. This event would become to be know n as the Deerfield M assacre ( Haefeli and Sweeney 272 73 ). Moreover, Eunice was one of those taken captive. Although Eunice was eventually released, she chose not to return to Deerfield and instead decided to marry a Native American


55 and stay with him in his French Indian tribe. She can be thought of as an ultimate border crosser Indeed, as Teresa Toulouse has previously argued, the historical context from which Williams is writing offers a useful way of understanding his text in terms of borders. Not only and, invoking clean bodies the bodies ( Toulouse once a calm and benevolent local e in has become transformed into a warring ground that must be ardently defended. This rigid binary, I argue, is exactly under siege by the crim e of whoredom, particularly as whoredom n Sarah Smith. Williams creates a culture genealogy of whoredom that posits everyone women and men as potential spiritual and physical whores in this zone of conflict. warring bodies, we can also examine the resonant ideology from the witchcraft trials as operating and Adultery among the black can see only human frailty and sins of Unlike Danforth, whose Cry of Sodom sermon emphasizes that


56 sodomy and bestiality disrupt the natural s focuses on a different sort of di sruption in the natural order. Hi black Wonders 80). In The Wonders of an Invisible World are broken down! The usual Walls of defense about mankind have such a Gap made in them, that the very Devils of borders, and comes at a very distinct cultural mo ment when the cohesive Puritan worldview is weakening because of increased religious diversity and turbulent land wars in the colonies. More specifically, witchcraft is a language of border stanchioning to prevent collapse and suffocation. caused Thus, for Willi attempts and conquests to seduce other cleans bodies to the works of the Devil a figure propagated in Puritan sermons as a warmonger can easily be translated to case li her bastard child.


57 In the midst of attem with a genealogy of whoredom to better explain why these metaphorical walls are crumbling. Or, convic America Begins 118). Starting out by solely addressing Smith, Williams argues: stupefying power of this brutish Sin of Uncleanness, her love to, & frequent practices of foolishness upon her, near the approaches of death. (6) Here, Williams first explains that Smith is v rejection of monogamous domesticity, which is both physical, spiritual, and revolves in a continuous cycle of pleasure seeking and satisfaction. Leo Bersani argues inf social formations only permit pleasure from sex when monogamy is present and reproduction is its useful purpose (93). t once radical, but also clarifies why Williams invokes so many pollution and contagion metaphors in his sermon. If too many bodies mingle and engage in promiscuous relations against God and family, pleasure would become the imperative above marital and re lational purpose. In the Puritan context, pleasure moves beyond and Williams makes every effort to quarantine spectator bodies that may engage with her


58 The Pleasure Principle : that w hich is not safe and as such it occupying that space of to physical and spiritual suffused with images of crumbling borderlands, one could locat a site monogamy to God and family. oreover, Williams goes gender (it is not confined to women) and even the physical body, and instead moves i t closer to explain a state of temporal, geographic


59 especially the penetrative and vagi the minister also illustrates Thus, Williams illustrates th pollute and defile clean and monogamous bodies, but also to desecrate the spiritual minds of New Eng land English Literatures 574 75). For Williams, carnal pollutions and unclean thoughts have swollen the Puritan social body to such toxic excess that a wh orish a state of spiritual and social consciousness that is collectively shared among all members that comprise the Puritan social body, regardless of gender. T he transmission, infection, and Williams details in his sermon. If, according to Williams, parents are now bringing up their hich doth occasion the abounding of sin, even this sin of So while Williams began the sermon with a straightforward attack on the sexual promisc uity that led Smith to conceal and murder her child, he ultimately builds a sermon that of spiritual and social disintegration, framed around both real and imagined warring bodies. Moreover, by positing w


60 power to seduce all bodies, Williams may ironically authorize the whorish imaginary of his spectators, fueling their minds with images of illicit bodies, shaken borders, and falling into and minds, such as Michael Wigglesworth, are i magined pursuing Diary 17). the scaffold.


61 CHAP TER 4 CONCLUSION Throughout this project, I have continually illustrated the erotic and sometimes even spiritual and liberatory potentials and effects of the sexual body on the scaffold using the archives of Benjamin Goad and Sarah Smith and the respective execution sermons of Danforth and Williams, as the focal point s of my study But perhaps the most dangerous of these potentials linked to the body discussed in my previous chapter While the scope of this project centered explicitly around sexual bodies, borders, and texts that responded to sex in multifaceted, generous, and fulfillin g ways, it is also important to problematize the fact that most scholarship on Puritan sexual history is drawn from rigid legal archives. These types of texts are useful for thinking through the ways sexuality, criminality, and guilt were configured in t he pre modern imagination. Moreover, legal archives are important for exploring how normativity was policed and enforced, giving valuable insight into the ideological construction of permissible and illicit behavior. But it is precisely in this emphasis on real, tangible bodies and bodily acts that prevent further access points or entryways into the ways Amusingly, but perhaps pertinent given the subject matter of this project Puritan sex is not always about death, wheth er it be spiritua l, civic, or physical. In order to move away from Puritan then, it is vital to rethink how pre Sexuality Jordan Alexander Stein offers a useful redefinitional model of early American moving beyond empirical and legal definitions


62 Sovereignty and Goodness of God (1676), Stein notes tha t Rowlandson does not make any reference to her body throughout the course of the text. Thus, hunger and appetite. But as Stein so eloquently illustrates through textual explic ation, sensations of consuming (472). er the archive from which he or she draws knowledge of pre modern sexualities from. While Stein takes up pre sensation, his arguments can be extended to include forms of spiritual sensation too such as the experience of conversion and other feelings of religious life. Because Danforth and Williams unearth how the erotics of experiencing spiritual way of understanding In this light we access the unyielding possibilities of ide of the spatial proximity of the scaffold. For Goad and Smith, no longer are their sexualities merely located on but are brought to life and actively ays of knowing and experien cing.


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68 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Justin R. Grant g raduate d summa cum laude from Purchase College, State University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature and minor in lesbian and gay studies. J usti n c om pleted his Master of Arts degree in E nglish from the University of Florida in the spring of 2012, and he is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the same program.