Cover: Cotton Mather’s Spanish Lessons: A Story of Language, Race, and Belonging in the Early Americas, from Harvard University PressCover: Cotton Mather’s Spanish Lessons in HARDCOVER

Cotton Mather’s Spanish Lessons

A Story of Language, Race, and Belonging in the Early Americas

Product Details


$35.00 • £30.95 • €31.95

ISBN 9780674971752

Publication Date: 07/05/2022

Academic Trade

336 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

7 photos

Belknap Press


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In her revolutionary new book…Gruesz sets aside Mather the witch hunter to center him instead in a fascinating new story about race… It is Gruesz’s thrillingly literary focus on a single text—spinning out as much significance as she has convincingly shown it deserves—that makes her new consideration of him so rewarding.—Joseph Rezek, Los Angeles Review of Books

Immersive and eye-opening… Meticulously researched and elegantly written, this is an essential reconsideration of the historical and contemporary place of the Spanish language and ‘Brown identity’ in the U.S.Publishers Weekly

One of the most exciting and illuminating books I have read this century. Just when our nation’s institutions of historical memory are being called to account for their role in constructing entrenched systems of racialization, Gruesz reminds us that the political status of Latinx people in the United States remains profoundly unclear. Brilliantly combining historical, archival, and literary work, this book shows her to be a singular figure in American Studies today.—Ramón Saldívar, author of The Borderlands of Culture

A stunningly researched and original take on Cotton Mather. Kirsten Silva Gruesz replaces entrenched U.S. origins stories with a transformative account of labor, race, and nation. In so doing, she locates English-speaking America in a series of richly hemispheric new contexts.—Sarah Rivett, author of Unscripted America

Kirsten Silva Gruesz has produced a magisterial study that fundamentally reimagines the complex relationship between colonial British North America and colonial Spanish America. Coupling extensive archival research with sensitive readings of multilingual texts, she traces not only the dialogue among criollo elites throughout the Americas, but also the deep imprints of Indigenous and African peoples on linguistic, religious, and material practices that continue to bear on our own lives today.—John Morán González, author of Border Renaissance

A brilliant, essential, and moving book. In Cotton Mather’s Spanish Lessons, Kirsten Silva Gruesz offers her own enduring lessons on language, translation, and latinidad for a new generation of Americanists.—Anna Brickhouse, author of The Unsettlement of America

This dazzling book does so much at once. By humanizing the oft-maligned Cotton Mather, it restores the complexity of an important thinker, wrestling with global events at a pivotal moment for America’s identity and his own. In so doing, it also situates New England in a much wider Atlantic world filled with people speaking Spanish and many other languages. Cotton Mather’s Spanish Lessons deepens our history in every imaginable way.—Ted Widmer, author of Lincoln on the Verge

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