What changes has the Puritan doctrine undergone throughout the course of history? What similarities and differences can be found between the Puritan thought and the views of writers of subsequent literary periods until the nineteenth-century symbolism?
The importance of these questions is closely related to the very significant influence that the doctrine of the founders of the first New England colony has had on the way North American literary tradition, work ethic and mentality of the American society shaped. My analysis is based on the works of Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. In my opinion their works fully convey the key ideas of Puritan ideology and clearly prove that its traces are to be found in works written in subsequent literary periods.
    In this essay I am going to present renowned literary critics’ theories, concerning the importance of Puritanism in terms of the further social, economic and literary development of the United States, as well as basic principles of the Puritan doctrine in order to demonstrate similarities and differences between them in the works of mentioned writers. I shall also demonstrate, on the example of the selected literary works, changes that Puritan doctrine has undergone throughout the course of history, proving the scope of its influence to be exceptionally wide and multidimensional.
Having examined a considerable number of works and analyses, I found opinions of the following critics to be the most accurate: Perry Miller’s, the master of American intellectual history, an author of The American Puritans; their Prose and Poetry, considered to be the authority on the American Puritanism studies and claimed to have revived the interest in the works of J. Edwards among scholars; Francis Otto Matthiessen’s, an influential literary critic related to New Criticism, devoted to American Renaissance studies (American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of...