Blood and Irony: Southern White Women's Narratives of the Civil War, 1861-1937

Blood and Irony: Southern White Women's Narratives of the Civil War, 1861-1937

by Sarah E. Gardner
     
 

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During the Civil War, its devastating aftermath, and the decades following, many southern white women turned to writing as a way to make sense of their experiences. Combining varied historical and literary sources, Sarah Gardner argues that women served as guardians of the collective memory of the war and helped define and reshape southern identity.

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Overview

During the Civil War, its devastating aftermath, and the decades following, many southern white women turned to writing as a way to make sense of their experiences. Combining varied historical and literary sources, Sarah Gardner argues that women served as guardians of the collective memory of the war and helped define and reshape southern identity.

Gardner considers such well-known authors as Caroline Gordon, Ellen Glasgow, and Margaret Mitchell and also recovers works by lesser-known writers such as Mary Ann Cruse, Mary Noailles Murfree, and Varina Davis. In fiction, biographies, private papers, educational texts, historical writings, and through the work of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, southern white women sought to tell and preserve what they considered to be the truth about the war. But this truth varied according to historical circumstance and the course of the conflict. Only in the aftermath of defeat did a more unified vision of the southern cause emerge. Yet Gardner reveals the existence of a strong community of Confederate women who were conscious of their shared effort to define a new and compelling vision of the southern war experience.

In demonstrating the influence of this vision, Gardner highlights the role of the written word in defining a new cultural identity for the postbellum South.

During the Civil War, its devastating aftermath, and the decades following, many southern white women turned to writing as a way to make sense of their experiences. Combining varied historical and literary sources, Sarah Gardner argues that women served as guardians of the collective memory of the war and helped define and reshape southern identity. She considers such well-known authors as Caroline Gordon, Ellen Glasgow, and Margaret Mitchell and also recovers works by lesser-known writers such as Mary Ann Cruse, Mary Noailles Murfree, and Varina Davis. Gardner reveals the existence of a strong community of Confederate women who were conscious of their shared effort to define a new and compelling vision of the southern war experience. In demonstrating the influence of this vision, Gardner highlights the role of the written word in defining a new cultural identity for the postbellum South.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A prodigious work of scholarship."
American Historical Review

"Cogently argued and beautifully written. . . .Blood & Irony is an important book that will undoubtedly stimulate much debate in the years to come."
Georgia Historical Quarterly

A welcome addition to a new body of scholarship.

Civil War Book Review

"Gardner accomplishes her task with remarkable sensitivity, examining the complexities of women's writings without losing sight of their reactionary tendencies.

Laura F. Edwards, The North Carolina Historical Review"

A welcome addition to the growing scholarship on women and the creation of historical memory.

Civil War History

A very readable account of the Southern female writers who for decades after the Civil War entertained American readers.

Washington Times

An impressively researched and thoroughly contextualized argument. . . . Highly recommended.

Choice

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807861561
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
07/21/2004
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
3 MB

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From the Publisher
A very readable account of the Southern female writers who for decades after the Civil War entertained American readers.--Washington Times

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