Catalogue

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The New England village /
Joseph S. Wood with a contribution by Michael Steinitz.
imprint
Baltimore, Md : The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.
description
xvi, 223 p. : ill. ; maps.
ISBN
0801854547 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Baltimore, Md : The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.
isbn
0801854547 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
1144994
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Joseph S. Wood is the provost and a professor of geography at the University of Southern Maine
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1997-10:
In this book Wood asserts that the idealized Colonial New England center-village was a Romantic myth. The author demonstrates that Colonial New England was instead a "Europeanized landscape of towns and villages filled with single family farms linked to town and village centers [that] formed a pre-urban space." The idealized center-village so closely identified with the New England landscape was a result of 19th-century commercialization. The elites who built these towns eventually invented this tradition to legitimize and come to terms with commercial capitalism. Eventually the myth became accepted as historical fact. A geographer by training, Wood supplements the tools of his discipline with those of historians to produce an interesting and sometimes compelling study. His book, essentially a collection of essays, does suffer from some problems, however; better editing might have bridged sizable gaps between chapters. The author also tries to prove too much, which leaves many assertions begging further development and more evidence. Still, this is a useful volume for historians and geographers interested in the transformation of the early New England town. Graduate students and above. J. C. Arndt; James Madison University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"We think of the quaint village with its white-clapboard church surrounding a town green and a cluster of shops as the core image of the New England colonial community. But in The New England Village Joseph S. Wood maintains that that icon was really a romantic 19th-century invention."-- Boston Globe
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 1997
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Summaries
Main Description
The New England village, with its white-painted, black-shuttered, classical-revival buildings surrounding a tree-shaded green, is one of the enduring icons of the American historical imagination. Associated in the popular mind with a time of strong community values, discipline, and economic stability, the village of New England is for many the archetypal "city on a hill." Yet in The New England Village, Joseph S. Wood argues that this village is a nineteenth-century place and its association with the colonial past a nineteenth-century romantic invention. New England colonists brought with them a cultural predisposition toward dispersed settlements within agricultural spaces called "towns" and "villages." Rarely compact in form, these communities did, however, encourage individual landholding. By the early nineteenth century, town centers, where meetinghouses stood, began to develop into the center villages we recognize today. Just as rural New England began its economic decline, romantics associated these proto-urban places with idealized colonial village communities as the source of both village form and commercial success. This provocative assessment of the New England village encourages critical thinking about landscape origins and meanings ascribed to them by different people in different periods. We invent the past, Wood concludes, in our own image -- as nineteenth-century villagers did quite literally and as suburban developers do today.
Unpaid Annotation
"Colonial New England was a land of modest, dispersed, one-story farmsteads. Nineteenth-century commercial elites remade the landscape, which Romantic elites then transformed into an imaginary colonial landscape of stylish houses encircling a town common in a puritan village. Like seventeenth-century English colonists before them, the imaginations of local folk, fiction writers, revivalist architects, genealogists, nativists, preservationists, and scholars all created colonial New Englands of the mind."-from The New England VillageThe New England village, with its white-painted, black-shuttered, classical-revival buildings surrounding a tree-shaded green, is one of the enduring icons of the American historical imagination. Associated in the popular mind with a time of strong community values, discipline, and economic stability, the village of New England is for many the archetypal "city on a hill." Yet this village is a nineteenth-century place, argues Joseph S. Wood, and its association with the colonial
Table of Contents
List of Figuresp. VII
Prefacep. XI
Acknowledgmentsp. XV
Introduction: "As a City upon a Hill"p. 1
The Colonial Encounter with the Landp. 9
Village and Community in the Seventeenth Centuryp. 52
The Architectural Landscapep. 71
Villages in the Federal Periodp. 88
The Village as a Vernacular Formp. 114
The Settlement Idealp. 135
A World We Have Gainedp. 161
Notesp. 181
Bibliographyp. 195
Indexp. 217
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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