This pioneering study of the much-mythologized Southern belle offers the first serious look at the lives of white women and their harsh and restricted place in the slave society before the Civil War. Drawing on the diaries, letters, and memoirs of hundreds of planter wives and daughters, Clinton sets before us in vivid detail the daily life of the plantation mistress and her ambiguous intermediary position in the hierarchy between slave and master.
"The Plantation Mistress challenges and reinterprets a host of issues related to the Old South. The result is a book that forces us to rethink some of our basic assumptions about two peculiar institutions -- the slave plantation and the nineteenth-century family. It approaches a familiar subject from a new angle, and as a result, permanently alters our understanding of the Old South and women's place in it.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)|
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Excerpted from "The Plantation Mistress"
Copyright © 1984 Catherine Clinton.
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Table of ContentsPreface: Hidden Lives, xi
Chapter I: Women in the Land of Cotton, 3
Chapter II: Slave of Slaves, 16
Chapter III: Circle of Kin, 36
Chapter IV: The Day to Fix my Fate, 59
Chapter V: The Moral Bind, 87
Chapter VI: The Fallen Woman, 110
Chapter VII: Equally Their Due, 123
Chapter VIII: Precious and Precarious in Body and Soul, 139
Chapter IX: Every Woman Was an Island, 164
Chapter X: The Curse of Slavery, 180
Chapter XI: The Sexual Dynamics of Slavery, 199
Chapter XII: Foucault Meets Mandingo, 223
Appendix A, 232
Appendix B, 239
Abbreviations of Archives Referred to in Notes and Bibliography, 243
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What a true Misses dealt with on a daily basis. No Scarlet t O'haras here
The Plantation Mistress is a must read to grasp the reality of plantation life during the early antebellum period. Clinton does an excellent job dispelling the myth of the Old South.
An excellent book I found very useful when researching my novels. I highly recommend it!!!!
Catherine Clinton proffers an interesting and provocative image of the souther planter's wife. This book challenges the 'moonlight and magnolia' image of the elite of southern society prior to the Civil War by providing detailed examples of daily life. The position of the author is aggressive and at times somewhat overreaching for the evidence she cites,however, it raises some important questions and should be included in the library of a student of Southern history.