Conversing by Signs: Poetics of Implication in Colonial New England Culture

Conversing by Signs: Poetics of Implication in Colonial New England Culture

by Robert Blair St. George


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Conversing by Signs: Poetics of Implication in Colonial New England Culture

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807846889
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 05/26/1998
Edition description: 1
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Robert Blair St. George is associate professor of folklore and folklife at the University of Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents


Introduction. On Implication
1. Implicated Places
2. Embodied Spaces
3. Attacking Houses
4. Disappearing Acts
Afterword. Metaphysics and Markets

Illustrations and Maps
Plates 1 through 134.
Maps 1 through 5.

1. Trades Practiced by Transatlantic Migrants to Boston, 1660-1740
2. Trades Practiced by Intercolonial Artisan Migrants to Boston, 1660-1740
3. Trades Practiced by Artisan Migrants from Rural New England to Boston, 1660-1740
4. Distances Traveled by Artisan Migrants from Rural New England to Boston, 1660-1740
5. Trades Practiced by Artisan Migrants to Boston, 1660-1740
6. Occupational Participation in Petitions of 1677 and 1696
7. Occupational Participation in Subscription List for Market/Town House, 1656
8. Trades Practiced by Artisans Arriving in Boston, March 1763-August 1765
9. Reported Destruction of Houses and Barns during King Philip's War, 1675-1676
10. Officeholding of Deputies to Connecticut General Assembly, with Ranking for Population and Artisanal Activity, in Towns Where Ralph Earl Worked
11. Subscription Levels to 1792 Connecticut Artisans' Petition in Towns Where Ralph Earl Worked
12. Buildings Destroyed in Rhode Island during the British Occupation, 1776-1779

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Enriched by wide reading in theory as well as in architectural and cultural history, and informed by plain old digging for relevant texts, St. George imagines a lost world unlike any we have envisioned before. Is it quirky? In places, yes. Is it stimulating and engaging? Definitely.—William and Mary Quarterly

Enormously rewarding. . . . Perhaps the book's greatest accomplishment is its willingness to question long-standing assumptions about historical and cultural processes that far transcend the limited scope of early New England. Recover[s] multilayered complexity in past experience.—American Historical Review

This is as daring a book as one is likely to find in the entire corpus of scholarly writing on colonial America.—Reviews in American History

Conversing by Signs is a model example of archaeological history. In its loving treatment of detail and its balanced and profound reflections, the book makes a wonderful read.—Journal of American Folklore

Conversing by Signs dramatically expands the exploration of early New England architecture, landscape, and material culture. In this provocative and engaging book, Robert Blair St. George offers a series of elegantly crafted interpretations that excite the historical imagination. From the investigation of body imagery in the seventeenth-century New England house to the representation of landscapes in eighteenth-century portraiture, Conversing by Signs stands as a model of interdisciplinary thought at its best.—Bernard Herman, University of Delaware

Written in St. George's inimitable voice, Conversing by Signs is a tour de force examination of the multiple meanings embedded in corporeal things, as well as the means, or conversation, by which they are expressed. . . . A landmark work that should, like the implicated ideas that St. George cites, continue to exert influence, overt and tacit, for generations to come.—The Journal of American History

A monumental book. Its painstaking and inventive scholarship and exhaustive original research would alone qualify it as a landmark in the understanding of material culture; but the scope and intelligence of its symbolic interpretations carry it far beyond the familiar boundaries of its grounding discipline. It is gracefully, confidently, and lucidly written, highly imaginative without falling into mere ingenuity and idiosyncracy, intellectually bold and fresh without bowing too deeply to current poststructuralist and new-historicist fashions.—Robert S. Cantwell, author of Ethnomimesis: Folklife and the Representation of Culture

A major — yea, an outstanding — contribution to material culture, New England, and early American studies, and should take its place proudly . . . on the shelves of those concerned with this array of topics.—Vernacular Architecture Newsletter

St. George finesses the epistemic shift from faith to science into a richly suggestive account of the continuities and paradoxes in New England colonial social relations.—American Literary History

An intricate and multilayered analysis.—Choice

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