Friday, August 23, 2013

The New England Primer


This is the New England Primer, the first American text used to teach school children to read.  It was in print from 1681 to 1830 and was, for millions of children in the New World, their first experience with formal education. In addition to the alphabet, it reinforced Puritan and Calvinist beliefs that life was short and brutal, that mankind is helpless in the face of sin, and that most of us were ending up in hell anyway.  

This is always the first text I teach in my American 
Literature class.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Conversation with John Paul Keith


John Paul Keith discusses his new solo album, his collaboration with Amy LaVere, and what it means to be a musician in Memphis.