Onwards and upwards - wine on Oscar night; drinks with the old choir gang yesterday... tonight might be a work night, though.
Complementing my study of early American writings, of which I know incredibly little, is Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, the first book in his Baroque trilogy, which I just finished. Very little of it is actually set in America (most of it takes place in England and in various European countries or now-defunct principalities, duchies, etc.), but one of the main characters, Daniel Waterhouse, is an English Nonconformist who later moves to Massachusetts. So reading a useful background essay on the Puritan emigration to America, I ended up thinking of it all in relation to Daniel and his childhood experience of seeing Charles I's beheading. (This is more or less the only way I've found to remember historical events and successions -- I know the outlines of 19th-century France, for example, from reading Balzac and Flaubert.)