Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom: Revolution and Rebellion on a Virginia Plantation

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Overview


Landon Carter, a Virginia planter, left behind one of the most revealing of all American diaries. In this astonishingly rich biography, Isaac mines this remarkable document--and many other sources--to reconstruct Carter's interior world as it plunged into revolution.
The aging patriarch, though a fierce supporter of American liberty, was deeply troubled by the rebellion and its threat to established order. His diary, originally a record of plantation business, began to fill with angry stories of revolt in his own little kingdom. Carter writes at white heat, his words sputtering from his pen as he documents the terrible rupture that the Revolution meant to him. Indeed, Carter felt in his heart that he was chronicling a world in decline, the passing of the order that his revered father had bequeathed to him. Not only had Landon's king betrayed his subjects, but Landon's own household betrayed him: his son showed insolent defiance, his daughter Judith eloped with a forbidden suitor, all of his slaves conspired constantly, and eight of them made an armed exodus to freedom. The seismic upheaval he helped to start had crumbled the foundations of Carter's own home.
In Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom Rhys Isaac unfolds not only the life, but also the mental world of our countrymen in a long-distant time. Moreover, in this presentation of Landon Carter's passionate narratives, the diarist becomes an arresting new character in the world's literature, a figure of Shakespearean proportions, the Lear of his own tragic kingdom. This long-awaited work will be seen both as a major contribution to Revolution history and a triumph of the art of biography.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In Isaac's hands the story of the Revolution in a small corner of Virginia breaks into multiple competing narratives that reveal the rich interplay between the local and the Atlantic, between the personal and the political, and, above all, between lost stories told by subalterns and the recorded stories of a patriarch-master."--James Sidbury, The Journal of Southern History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195189087
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 795,808
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Rhys Isaac is Distinguished Visiting Professor at the College of William and Mary and a Research Associate of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790.

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Table of Contents

The Argument XI
First Words XIII
Dramatis Personae
The Carters and the Beales XXIII
Sabine Hall-1770s Staff of the Dual Household XXIV
I Revolution in House and Home
1 Morning of Revolution 3
2 The Egypt of This Exodus 17
3 "All for Love" 37
II Enlightenment Calm
4 Plantation Pastoral 57
5 Landon's Library 85
6 Plantation Medical Science 105
III Politics, War, and Rebellion
7 Landon, Legislator 123
8 Rebellions Begin 163
IV A Troubled Old Regime
9 Master and Slaves 187
10 Duties Betrayed 233
11 Contests at Home 265
V King Lear Into the Storm
12 Primal Rebellions 287
13 Landon and Nassaw 313
14 Toward Death 323
Last Words 333
Chronology 337
Annotation 339
About the Illustrations 396
Acknowledgments 400
Index 401
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