The Other John Adams, 1705-1740
Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 2003 - 207 pages
In his activities during the latter half of the decade, John Adams (1705-1740) reflected some of the dynamics of the time. A Congregational minister in Newport, this member of the Harvard class of 1721 became involved in an ongoing debate within his faith over which people are qualified to receive Holy Communion.
During this time, Adams wrote poems and essays. Influenced by Addison, Dryden, and Pope, among other recent or current British authors, Adams helped introduce neoclassical verse and the sophisticated Addisonian essay to American literature.
Adams was more successful as a writer than as a clergyman. As a poet, he wrote a series of generally impressive personal poems, crafted effective images, created a memorable melancholiac, composed a substantial poem in the Blackmorean mode, and translated parts of the Bible and Horace. Most of his poems were collected and published post-humously under his name in 1745. With his uncle Matthew Adams and Mather Byles, John Adams participated in Proteus Echo, the second essay series to appear in American newspapers. Franklin's Dogood papers were the first. In his essays, Adams is most important as a literary theorist, especially when addressing how much, if at all, authors should compromise their values in order to please readers. He encourages politeness and social interaction and criticizes boring ministers, thus evincing the changing social dynamics of the time. The advice to the love-lorn column might have originated in one of his contributions to Proteus Echo.
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Page 32 - And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.