Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South / Edition 1

Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South / Edition 1

by Bertram Wyatt-Brown
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195325176

ISBN-13: 9780195325171

Pub. Date: 08/28/2007

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, hailed in The Washington Post as "a work of enormous imagination and enterprise" and in The New York Times as "an important, original book," Southern Honor revolutionized our understanding of the antebellum South, revealing how Southern men adopted an ancient honor code that shaped

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Overview

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, hailed in The Washington Post as "a work of enormous imagination and enterprise" and in The New York Times as "an important, original book," Southern Honor revolutionized our understanding of the antebellum South, revealing how Southern men adopted an ancient honor code that shaped their society from top to bottom.
Using legal documents, letters, diaries, and newspaper columns, Wyatt-Brown offers fascinating examples to illuminate the dynamics of Southern life throughout the antebellum period. He describes how Southern whites, living chiefly in small, rural, agrarian surroundings, in which everyone knew everyone else, established the local hierarchy of kinfolk and neighbors according to their individual and familial reputation. By claiming honor and dreading shame, they controlled their slaves, ruled their households, established the social rankings of themselves, kinfolk, and neighbors, and responded ferociously against perceived threats. The shamed and shameless sometimes suffered grievously for defying community norms. Wyatt-Brown further explains how a Southern elite refined the ethic. Learning, gentlemanly behavior, and deliberate rather than reckless resort to arms softened the cruder form, which the author calls "primal honor." In either case, honor required men to demonstrate their prowess and engage in fierce defense of individual, family, community, and regional reputation by duel, physical encounter, or war. Subordination of African-Americans was uppermost in this Southern ethic. Any threat, whether from the slaves themselves or from outside agitation, had to be met forcefully. Slavery was the root cause of the Civil War, but, according to Wyatt-Brown, honor pulled the trigger.
Featuring a new introduction by the author, this anniversary edition of a classic work offers readers a compelling view of Southern culture before the Civil War.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195325171
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Edition description:
Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition
Pages:
640
Sales rank:
933,140
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Preface to Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition
Part One: Origins and Definitions
1. Honor in Literary Perspective
2. Primal Honor: Valor, Blood, and Bonding
3. Primal Honor: The Tensions of Patriarchy
4. Gentility
Part Two: Family and Gender Behavior
5. Fathers, Mothers, and Progeny
6. Male Youth and Honor
7. A Young Man's Career: Cultural and Familial Limits
8. Strategies of Courtship and Marriage
9. Women in a Man's World: Role and Self-Image
10. Law, Property, and Male Dominance
11. Male Custom in Family Life
12. Status, Law, and Sexual Misconduct
Part Three: Structures of Rivalry and Social Control
13. Personal Strategies and Community Life: Hospitality, Gambling, and Combat
14. Honor, Shame, and Justice in a Slavocracy
15. Policing Slave Society: Insurrectionary Scares
16. Charivari and Lynch Law
17. The Anatomy of a Wife-Killing
List of Abbreviations and Short Titles
Notes
Index

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