Robert Frost on his farm near Ripton, Vermont.

America’s Great Poet of Darkness

A reconsideration of Robert Frost at 150.
"Sinners In The Hands of an Angry God" title page.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God: Annotated

Jonathan Edwards’s sermon reflects the complicated religious culture of eighteenth-century America, influenced not just by Calvinism, but Newtonian physics as well.
John Winthrop.

When Perry Miller Invented America

In a covenantal nation like the United States, words are the very ligaments that hold the body together, and what words we choose become everything.
The front cover of Peter Manseau's new book, featuring a photo of Jefferson's bible.

Doubting Thomas

Is Jefferson's Bible evidence that the Founding Fathers engaged with scripture to birth a Christian nation? Or that they sought to foster a new secular order?
People pray outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on June 27, 2022.

Separation of Church and State Has Always Been Good for Religion

The US Supreme Court's most recent decisions undermine centuries of established secularism within American government.
Patricia Hearst in front of SLA flag, 1974; CSU Archives/Everett Collection/Alamy Stock Photo.

American Captivity

The captivity narrative as creation myth.
Painting of a Puritan family sitting around a table with books.

Read More Puritan Poetry

Coming to love Puritan poetry is an odd aesthetic journey. It's the sort of thing you expect people partial to bowties and gin gimlets to get involved with.
Left: Longfellow in His Study, by Worth Brehm, c. 1912. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Right: Dante Meditating on “The Divine Comedy”, by Jean-Jacques Feuchère, 1843.

As Far From Heaven as Possible

How Henry Wadsworth Longfellow interpreted Reconstruction by translating Dante.
Lithograph of Monongahela River bridge

The Girders of Steel City's History

Pittsburgh as a symbol of America itself.

The Puritans Are Alright

A review of "Hot Protestants: A History of Puritanism in England and America."
A man watching a maypole celebration.

Lord of Misrule: Thomas Morton’s American Subversions

When we think of early New England, we picture stern-faced Puritans. But in the same decade that they arrived, Morton founded a very different kind of colony.

In Defense of Kitsch

The denigration of kitsch betrays a latent anti-Catholicism, one born from centuries of class and ethnic divisions.
Travels through Virginia. From Theodor de Bry's 'America', Vol. I, 1590, after a drawing of John White. Depicting American Indians dancing.

The Construction of America, in the Eyes of the English

In Theodor de Bry’s illustrations for "True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia," the Algonquin are made to look like the Irish. Surprise.
Political cartoon lampooning Thomas Paine and his beliefs

America and Other Fictions: On Radical Faith and Post-Religion

Thomas Paine, the most radical of American revolutionaries, perhaps most fully understood the millennial potential of the new Republic.
Pearl Curran

Ghostwriter and Ghost: The Strange Case of Pearl Curran & Patience Worth

In early 20th-century St. Louis, Pearl Curran claimed to have conjured a long-dead New England Puritan named Patience Worth through a Ouija board.