Week 23

Our lecture tonight concerns the Puritans. This group had been forming for decades during the Elizabethan era, and they were already a problem for the government of the Virgin Queen. But it was in the Stuart era that this extremely energetic and cohesive group came to prominence and evolved into a political as well as a religious force. In order for us all to enter in to the world of English Puritans, I have assigned Paul Seaver's brilliant book Wallington's World. There is nothing better in all the literature of Puritanism. Paul Seaver was my professor at Stanford for Tudor-Stuart History and thus he is the guiding light behind our plan for these two Tudor-Stuart quarters of our course. Paul was not only a brilliant historian and fine writer, but he is also one of the finest human beings I have ever known. His kindness to me and to Bruce Thompson when we were both at Stanford working on our Ph.D.s (we both did Tudor-Stuart History as our secondary fields) changed our whole grad school experience. As Bruce and I listened to other History grad students complaining about their life and their advisors and all their problems, we would smile as we realized that our grad school experience was wonderful with much of that good feeling traceable to Paul Seaver. I will never forget the thoughtfulness that Paul showed to me as I approached the terrifying experience of Ph.D. orals. I can remember him saying to me: "You will get through this." It was all I needed to hear in order to keep going. And he was right; I got through it.


Paul Seaver,

Wallington's World: A Puritan Artisan in Seventeenth-Century London,

Stanford University Press (January 1, 1988),

ISBN 0804714320

Paul Seaver's field was Tudor-Stuart history and within that field he was especially knowledgeable about the Puritans. He discovered and then published the massive and spectacular musings of a man named Wallington and with the text of that 17th century London diarist, Paul opened up the world of the Puritans as no other document ever has. I encourage you to read just a sample of it. I have collected many paperback copies because it is sometimes difficult to get, and I am happy to loan out my copies to any of you who would like to take a little journey into the wondrous world of a 17th century London Puritan.