Dr. Billy J. Stratton Lecture on the 1773 edition of the Captivity Narrative of Mary Rowlandson

Image, Text, Ideology: Introducing the 1773 Boston Edition of A Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings, and Removes of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

presented by

Dr. Billy J. Stratton, Associate Professor, Department of English and author of

Buried in Shades of Night: Contested Voices, Indian Captivity, and the Legacy of King Philip’s War

 Tuesday, September 27 at 2:30-3:30 pm

Special Events Room, AAC 290

Anderson Academic Commons


This past Spring (2016), the DU University Libraries acquired an exceptional copy of the 1773 edition of Mary Rowlandson’s famous Indian captivity narrative, originally published as The Soveraignty and Goodness of God in 1682. This book would go on to become one of the most influential and widely-read accounts of Indian captivity in American literature, which are literary accounts of settlers who experienced periods of captivity among Native American people in periods ranging from weeks to years. In fact, between 1682 billy-stratton-book-coverand 1800, the account of Rowlandson’s captivity would subsequently be published in sixteen additional editions in both North America and England, and is considered by many scholars as America’s first bestseller. At the same time, as Dr. Billy J. Stratton of the DU English Department illustrates in his widely-praised study of the Rowlandson narrative and the captivity genre itself, Buried in Shades of Night, this publishing sequence occurred during a period when relations between American colonists and English Crown were becoming more strained and breaking out into war, with some Native nations fighting as allies with the British. Addressing the use of the Rowlandson text as an effective vehicle of propaganda, intended to create anxiety in the colonial communities about Native Americans during times of national crisis and conflict, this lecture will seek to reveal the role of the 1773 Boston edition through the subtle and not-so-subtle play of images, written text, and ideology, within this broader historical, cultural, and literary matrix.

Light refreshments will be served.

Buried in Shades of Night will be available for purchase at the lecture.               

Biographical Information about Dr. Billy J. Stratton:

Dr. Billy J. Stratton is an associate professor in the Department of English where he teaches contemporary Native American and American literature, poetics, film studies, and writing. He is a former Fulbright fellow assigned to Germany whose critical, creative, and editorial work on such topics as global indigeneity, Native critical theory, oratory, and specific writers including, Cormac McCarthy, Sherman Alexie, and Gerald Vizenor has appeared in numerous books and journals including Arizona Quarterly, The Journal of American Culture, Wicazo-Sa Review, and Salon. His first book, Buried in Shades of Night (2013), which addresses Native American points of view within the context of the Indian captivity narrative genre and colonial American history, has garnered substantial praise for its bold reassessment of early American literary history. He has also brought significant attention to the Sand Creek Massacre since coming to DU, and has worked to create a deeper understanding of the complex and tragic linkages between this event and DU history. His latest project examines recent developments in Native American fiction and popular culture, which will be published by the University of New Mexico Press later this Fall.

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