Many important insights enrich all five of these essays, which I will elucidate below, but the two that particularly stand out to me as rocking not only the foundations of Puritan exceptionalism but as having wider implications for post-American exceptional historiography are these. First, the conclusion Molly Farrell draws from her comparison of discourses of disgust that overtook the so-called antinomian controversy in 1636–38 and the so-called partial-birth abortion debate in 2003: “In the seventeenth century, intense affects conjured through scrutiny of women’s bodies attended colonial and global economic transformations, elucidating the potential work of disgust in the present. Identifying rogue bodies, rogue midwives, and rogue obstetricians—and in the process heightening the disgust they inspire—are activities integrally related to conceptions of sovereignty, both then and now.” If we attend to the working of disgust across historical moments, then, Farrell concludes, “historicist approaches...
1 December 2018
Ivy Schweitzer; Response: Postexceptionalist Puritanism: Rocking the Foundations. American Literature 1 December 2018; 90 (4): 841–854. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-7208572
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