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Belligerent Muse: Five Northern Writers and How They Shaped Our Understanding of the Civil War
     

Belligerent Muse: Five Northern Writers and How They Shaped Our Understanding of the Civil War

by Stephen Cushman
 

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War destroys, but it also inspires, stimulates, and creates. It is, in this way, a muse, and a powerful one at that. The American Civil War was a particularly prolific muse--unleashing with its violent realities a torrent of language, from soldiers' intimate letters and diaries to everyday newspaper accounts, great speeches, and enduring literary works. In

Overview

War destroys, but it also inspires, stimulates, and creates. It is, in this way, a muse, and a powerful one at that. The American Civil War was a particularly prolific muse--unleashing with its violent realities a torrent of language, from soldiers' intimate letters and diaries to everyday newspaper accounts, great speeches, and enduring literary works. In Belligerent Muse, Stephen Cushman considers the Civil War writings of five of the most significant and best known narrators of the conflict: Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, William Tecumseh Sherman, Ambrose Bierce, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Considering their writings both as literary expressions and as efforts to record the rigors of the war, Cushman analyzes their narratives and the aesthetics underlying them to offer a richer understanding of how Civil War writing chronicled the events of the conflict as they unfolded and then served to frame the memory of the war afterward.

Elegantly interweaving military and literary history, Cushman uses some of the war's most famous writers and their works to explore the profound ways in which our nation's great conflict not only changed the lives of its combatants and chroniclers but also fundamentally transformed American letters.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Offers a new way to understand histories of the war as complex literary expressions in their own right.—Journal of Southern History

Recommended.—CHOICE

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469618784
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/13/2014
Series:
Civil War America
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
232
File size:
2 MB

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Stephen Cushman presents an excellent and thoroughly researched overview of a timely topic—the relation of the Civil War to the writings of men whose engagement both with fighting the war and with writing the war resonates with nineteenth-century American culture.—Shirley Samuels, Cornell University

Gorgeous and penetrating, Stephen Cushman's Belligerent Muse gives us five exquisite lessons in the anatomy of style. From the lilt of Lincoln's language to the barbs of Bierce and the pageantry of Chamberlain, Belligerent Muse takes readers into the complicated literary history of how the war was spun and how a national bloodletting transformed the writing of history and the history of writing in the United States.—Stephen Berry, University of Georgia

Belligerent Muse is a beautifully written, rich, and engaging work that convincingly argues we should pay attention to the aesthetics of war writing, including military history. Offering fresh insight on every page, this is not only a great pleasure to read but also a major addition to the literature of the Civil War.—Alice Fahs, University of California, Irvine

Meet the Author

Stephen Cushman is Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
Gary W. Gallagher is John L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia and author or editor of numerous books, including Lee and His Army in Confederate History and The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864.

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