Michael Wigglesworth (1631-1705)
Best known for his epic poem “The Day of Doom,” Michael Wigglesworth was a New England Puritan Minister. While his poem, often anthologized in English textbooks or American literary anthologies, describes a violent apocalypse in which: “No hiding place can from his Face/ sinners at all conceal, / Whose flaming eye, hid things doth ‘spy/ and darkest things reveal/,” Wigglesworth too suffered from what he called “man’s natural depravity.”
In his journals, which were published after his death, Wigglesworth reveals a more intimate, flawed picture of himself. A person well aware of what were, in his mind at least, faults, such as his sexual attraction to the men he tutored.
Throughout his journals, we can find themes still echoed in the contemporary queer experience, like shame and repression of identity. As you read, pay attention to these themes and how his position as a leader conflicts with his queerness.