Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Transgressing the Bounds

Today, I am reading Louise A. Breen's Transgressing the Bounds: Subversive Enterprises Among the Puritan Elite in Massachusetts, 1630-1692 (2001). It occurs to me that most people probably don't read a book every day and that, if they do, those books do not have a lot of punctuation in their titles. I've gotten a lot better at this whole 1 book 1 day thing since coming to grad school, but I'd still like to spend some more time with some of them. One thing the grad school reading experience has impressed upon me is this: BE CONCISE!

Bless Louise A. Breen, who makes her point in 220 pages. Every page over 300 decreases the likelihood that I will read the whole book with any degree of care. But anything other than 123 pages is too short, as it does not conform to my 123 meme.
This quotation is from page 123, but I fudged the sentence count to get around some long primary source quotations:
Those active in transatlantic affairs urged that Massachusetts do nothing to jeopardize its international image and argued that the colony was obliged to protect, and thereby to accept as bona fide New Englanders those persons (Winthrop had thought of them almost as traitors) who had settled in territory adjacent to New Netherland. A May 1653 letter subscribed by teacher Edward Norris and many "pensive harts" in the mercantile community of Salem explained that the New England colonies must stand up strongly to the Dutch not only to ensure that the Indians did not think them weak but also to avoid being "looked att by the Parliament of England as Newters and dealt withall accordingly which may bee mischiefe to the whole countrey." The New Haven governor Theophilus Eaton produced a declaration of the "case" against the Dutch that similarly emphasized the need to expand the definition of community so as to include those English warring against the Dutch abroad, as well as those English who had moved to settlements close to Dutch territory.

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