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“The Bounty of Providence”: Food and Identity in William Byrd’s The History of the Dividing Line

“The Bounty of Providence”: Food and Identity in William Byrd’s The History of the Dividing... “The Bounty of Providence”: Food and Identity in William Byrd’s The History of the Dividing Line by Dan Walden William Byrd II’s writings have provided useful insights into the complicated realities of transatlantic life for one wealthy eighteenth-century American. Byrd, born in Virginia to a newly wealthy emigrant father, typifi ed the transatlantic gentleman; he enjoyed the benefi ts of an American and English upbringing and was equally comfortable in richly appointed London parlors, working on his plantation, and roaming the American wilderness (Manning 173). During Byrd’s lifetime, Atlantic travel underwent signifi cant technolog- ical and practical improvements, transforming the earlier Puritan conception of the ocean as a barely crossable wasteland into a permeable boundary across which people and goods moved with ever-increasing regularity. Th e improving reliability of transatlantic mobility emphasized “continuity rather than dislo- cation” between the New and Old Worlds and engendered insecurities among many colonists about their emerging Anglo-American identity (Manning 175). Byrd off ers a valuable example of this complex transatlantic identity because he, perhaps more than many of his contemporaries, was “quite literally a man split The Southern Literary Journal, volume xlvii, number 1, fall 2014 © 2015 by The Southern Literary Journal http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

“The Bounty of Providence”: Food and Identity in William Byrd’s The History of the Dividing Line

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 47 (1) – May 29, 2015

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

“The Bounty of Providence”: Food and Identity in William Byrd’s The History of the Dividing Line by Dan Walden William Byrd II’s writings have provided useful insights into the complicated realities of transatlantic life for one wealthy eighteenth-century American. Byrd, born in Virginia to a newly wealthy emigrant father, typifi ed the transatlantic gentleman; he enjoyed the benefi ts of an American and English upbringing and was equally comfortable in richly appointed London parlors, working on his plantation, and roaming the American wilderness (Manning 173). During Byrd’s lifetime, Atlantic travel underwent signifi cant technolog- ical and practical improvements, transforming the earlier Puritan conception of the ocean as a barely crossable wasteland into a permeable boundary across which people and goods moved with ever-increasing regularity. Th e improving reliability of transatlantic mobility emphasized “continuity rather than dislo- cation” between the New and Old Worlds and engendered insecurities among many colonists about their emerging Anglo-American identity (Manning 175). Byrd off ers a valuable example of this complex transatlantic identity because he, perhaps more than many of his contemporaries, was “quite literally a man split The Southern Literary Journal, volume xlvii, number 1, fall 2014 © 2015 by The Southern Literary Journal

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 29, 2015

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