The New World in Renaissance Literature Utopia Vs. Terror In The New World - Essay

Utopia Vs. Terror In The New World

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Howard Mumford Jones (essay date 1964)

SOURCE: "The Anti-Image," in O Strange New World: American Culture: the Formative Years, The Viking Press, 1964, pp. 35-70.

[In the following essay, Jones examines the opposing idealized and terrifying visions of the New World that characterized Renaissance thought.]

The concept that the New World is the peculiar abode of felicity lingered for centuries in the European imagination and, like the youth of America, is one of its oldest traditions. Virginia, wrote Michael Drayton in his famous poem of 1606, is earth's "onely paradise," and Goethe not long before his death declared: "Amerika, du hast es...

(The entire section is 12333 words.)