"England Hath Seene Her Best Dayes, and Now Evill Dayes are Befalling Us." Nostalgia in Puritan Culture


  • Katerina Steffan Leibniz University Hannover




Nostalgia, Puritanism, Emotion, Migration, Pilgrimage, Conversion Narrative


To examine Puritan nostalgia in the context of the Great Migration (1630s-40s), this paper analyzes the spiritual autobiography of the English tailor John Dane, in which he recollects his memories of leaving his family and wandering through Hertfordshire, as well as his return home and subsequent move to New England. By investigating how Dane employs nostalgia to make sense of and emotionally cope with his separation from home, his conversion experience, and his decision to leave for New England, this paper argues that nostalgia was decisive in how early modern Puritans understood, experienced, and practiced their daily lives.

Author Biography

Katerina Steffan, Leibniz University Hannover

After having completed her vocational training as women’s tailor and fashion designer, Katerina Steffan worked as a fashion designer in Hannover for three and a half years. She then started studying at the Leibniz Universität Hannover beginning with English and History (fächerübergreifender Bachelor). While continuing her teacher training in her masters she also studied Advanced Anglophone Studies and graduated in October 2021. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Leibniz Universität Hannover, working on her dissertation entitled “Vulnerable Bodies: Anger and Sorrow in New England Puritanism.” This project will explore how normative religious, medical and philosophical discourses on the emotions intersected with the emotional practices of New Englanders to shape the emotional climate of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New England. By merging theories of practice, affect, and space and examining the intersection of emotions, the body and space, this project will show the dynamic relationality between representations, practices and identities. The project is funded by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. Katerina is currently part of the DGF-funded early Americanist network “Voices and Agencies: America and the Atlantic, 1600–1865.”




How to Cite

Steffan, Katerina. “‘England Hath Seene Her Best Dayes, and Now Evill Dayes Are Befalling Us.’ Nostalgia in Puritan Culture”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, Aug. 2023, pp. 21-40, doi:10.5283/copas.381.