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The Confederate Image: Prints of the Lost Cause

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The Confederate Image examines for the first time the popular lithographs and engravings cherished by Southerners after the Civil War. Until now, few of the pictures have been reproduced in books, and many have been relegated to dusty corners of museums, unframed and uncataloged. This book establishes the importance of such prints, for they helped revive and sustain Southern identity after the collapse of the Confederacy. If the myth of the Lost Cause was a Southern civil religion, then this book is a study of ...
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Overview

The Confederate Image examines for the first time the popular lithographs and engravings cherished by Southerners after the Civil War. Until now, few of the pictures have been reproduced in books, and many have been relegated to dusty corners of museums, unframed and uncataloged. This book establishes the importance of such prints, for they helped revive and sustain Southern identity after the collapse of the Confederacy. If the myth of the Lost Cause was a Southern civil religion, then this book is a study of its icons.
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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
Tells a fascinating story of the creation of these images and how they added to or, at times, ran counter to the creation of the myth that is known as the Lost Cause.
New York Times Book Review
A well-researched and interesting sidelight into a world of illusion.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In part because historians have preferred to use photographs to illustrate the Civil War and partly because the South's heat and humidity destroyed many extant copies, the popular lithographs and engravings of the ``Lost Cause'' have been neglected, even by museums, where they frequently were stored unframed, uncatalogued and unrepaired. Here print historians Neely, Holzer and Boritt offer a wide selection of such prints (141 in total), which, ironically, mainly were produced by Northern printmakers for Southerners who wanted to revive and sustain the region's identity after the Confederate defeat in 1865. Images include heroes, martyrs and emblems of the Confederacy and are presented in varying size and quality``beautiful pictures, crude and ugly ones, large ones and small, maudlin scenes and inspiring ones.'' In this pioneering study, the authors provide an extensively researched, scholarly text that places this popular art in its cultural and commercial context. (September)
Library Journal
Southerners provided a ready market for those who made inexpensive prints of Confederate heroes. Ironically, the authors find that most of these surviving pictures produced from 1865 to the early 1900s were manufactured in the North by profit-seeking businessmen, including Currier and Ives. Lost Cause prints were both mementos of past loyalty and inspirational icons for future generations of southerners. This book is imaginative, insightful, and well written. It crosses several fields: analysis of art, printing, 19th-century popular culture, and Civil War history. Highly recommended for university libraries and for others having collections on the Civil War or popular art. Joseph G. Dawson III, History Dept., Texas A&M Univ., College Station
From The Critics
Mark Neely, Harold Holzer, and Gabor S. Boritt effectively collaborate to present a pioneering and seminal examination of the popular lithographs and engravings cherished by Southerners during and after the Civil War in The Confederate Image: Prints Of A Lost Cause. These were the images in southern popular culture that helped to sustain and revive a post-confederacy identity following the collapse of the Confederacy at the end of the war. It is one of history's ironies that these images were actually crafted by Northern artisans. The principle focus of The Confederate Image is on the prints of three prominent southern Civil War figures (Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson) as well as offering informative discussions on prints of other significant Confederates as well as the contributions of the short-lived "Southern Illustrated News". The Confederate Image is a highly recommended and unique addition to Civil War studies and of considerable interest to students of American popular culture and art history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807841976
  • Publisher: University of North Carolina Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/1/1987
  • Pages: 258

Meet the Author

Mark E. Neely Jr. is McCabe-Greer Professor of Civil War History at Pennsylvania State University.

Harold Holzer is vice president for communications at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and, with Neely, author of The Union Image: Popular Prints of the Civil War North.

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