The Political Work of Northern Women Writers and the Civil War, 1850-1872 / Edition 1

The Political Work of Northern Women Writers and the Civil War, 1850-1872 / Edition 1

by Lyde Cullen Sizer
     
 

This volume explores the lives and works of nine Northern women who wrote during the Civil War period, examining the ways in which, through their writing, they engaged in the national debates of the time. Lyde Sizer shows that from the 1850 publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin through Reconstruction, these women, as well as a larger mosaic of lesser-known

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Overview

This volume explores the lives and works of nine Northern women who wrote during the Civil War period, examining the ways in which, through their writing, they engaged in the national debates of the time. Lyde Sizer shows that from the 1850 publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin through Reconstruction, these women, as well as a larger mosaic of lesser-known writers, used their mainstream writings publicly to make sense of war, womanhood, Union, slavery, republicanism, heroism, and death.

Among the authors discussed are Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sara Willis Parton (Fanny Fern), Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, Mary Abigail Dodge (Gail Hamilton), Louisa May Alcott, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. Although direct political or partisan power was denied to women, these writers actively participated in discussions of national issues through their sentimental novels, short stories, essays, poetry, and letters to the editor.

Sizer pays close attention to how these mostly middle-class women attempted to create a "rhetoric of unity," giving common purpose to women despite differences in class, race, and politics. This theme of unity was ultimately deployed to establish a white middle-class standard of womanhood, meant to exclude as well as include.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807825549
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
09/18/2000
Series:
Civil War America Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.06(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.16(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: My Sphere Rounds Out: Northern Women and the Written War1
Ch. 1Rowing against Wind and Tide: How Women Wrote17
Wind and Tide: The Obstacles and Inspiration of Political Work22
Nine Rowers30
New England Mothers: Introducing Child, Stowe, and Fern32
Northern Borders: Introducing Southworth, Harper, and Davis37
New England Daughters: Introducing Hamilton, Alcott, and Phelps43
Ch. 2Raising a Voice: The Civil War Begins in the 1850s49
Stowe and Southworth: Slavery and the Proper Work of White Women52
Fern and Oakes: Independent versus Influential Womanhood57
Child versus Wise and Mason: Speaking for the North61
Jacobs and Davis: The Web of Racial and Wage Slavery66
Ch. 3What Can Woman Do?: The Rhetoric of Unity, 1861-186375
What Women Did77
Leave-Taking and Waiting: Early Stories of Patriotism84
A Woman-Centered Understanding of War: Delphine P. Baker and Metta V. Victor90
The Voice of Tribulation Periwinkle: Introducing Women-Nurses96
Political Work through Moral Suasion: Abolitionists Speak Out99
Ch. 4A Woman's Read: Crisis at Midwar109
Economic Struggle and Wartime Disillusionment114
To Upheave and Overturn: Gail Hamilton Goes to War121
Class Is Another War: Fern, Townsend, and Davis133
Ch. 5Trying to Find Places: The Question of African American Freedom in the Late War141
The Context143
Emancipation Rhetoric and Fanny Kemble's Journal: The War Turns a Corner144
He Is Every Where: Antislavery at Midwar147
A Shifting Subject: African American Men151
What Will We Do with the Negro? Wartime Strategies for Reconstruction158
Ch. 6Woman's Part of Glory: Love, Death, and Work in Women's Writing, 1863-1865167
Woman's Place in War: Women-Nurses169
Women on the Fictional Battlefront173
A Place for a Woman: Nurses Make Their Way181
A Crisis of Faith: An Internal Critique184
Ch. 7The Times Which Form History: Writing the War, 1865-1868193
Writing Women and the War: Transitions197
Women's Histories: Reinscribing the "Universal" Woman for Posterity200
Nursing Histories: Women's Authority and Class Conflict204
A Woman's War: Postwar Novels and Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth's: How He Won Her216
Ch. 8Still Waiting: Race and the Politics of Reconstruction223
Emphasizing Difference: Racial Whiteness in Postwar Fiction226
An Africanist Presence231
The Politics of Intermarriage234
Turning Points240
Ch. 9A New Emancipation: Interpreting the War for Tomorrow245
A Call for Women248
The "Coming Woman": Alcott and the Woman Question254
Woman As a Class: Phelps and the Labor Question263
The Threshold of a New Era: Harper and the Negro Question270
Conclusion279
Notes283
Bibliography311
Index333

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