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Mary Rowlandson

(c. 1635—1678) colonist in America and author

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daughter of John White, an early settler and wealthy proprietor of Lancaster, Mass., in 1656 married Joseph Rowlandson, a Congregational minister. During King Philip's War, when the Narragansett attacked Lancaster (Feb. 10, 1676), she was abducted by the Indians, who held her for 11 weeks and five days, until she was ransomed. Her account of this captivity was published in Cambridge (1682) as The Sovereignty & Goodness of God, Together with the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed; Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. This was the second edition; the first edition, which has not been found, was apparently published earlier in the same year. The book is one of the most popular examples of 17th-century American prose and has been reprinted and reedited approximately 30 times. In pure, idiomatic, sinewy English, Mrs. Rowlandson shows the dangers in which the settlers lived, their contempt for the Indians, their devout dependence upon the Bible for support, and their actual treatment during such enforced captivities.

Subjects: Literature

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