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Imagined Civil War: Popular Literature of the North and South, 1861-1865 (Civil War America)by Alice Fahs
Synopses & Reviews
In this groundbreaking work of cultural history, Alice Fahs explores a little-known and fascinating side of the Civil War--the outpouring of popular literature inspired by the conflict. From 1861 to 1865, authors and publishers in both the North and the South produced a remarkable variety of war-related compositions, including poems, songs, children's stories, romances, novels, histories, and even humorous pieces. Fahs mines these rich but long-neglected resources to recover the diversity of the war's political and social meanings.
Instead of narrowly portraying the Civil War as a clash between two great, white armies, popular literature offered a wide range of representations of the conflict and helped shape new modes of imagining the relationships of diverse individuals to the nation. Works that explored the war's devastating impact on white women's lives, for example, proclaimed the importance of their experiences on the home front, while popular writings that celebrated black manhood and heroism in the wake of emancipation helped readers begin to envision new roles for blacks in American life.
Recovering a lost world of popular literature, The Imagined Civil War adds immeasurably to our understanding of American life and letters at a pivotal point in our history.
Book News Annotation:
Fahs (history, U. of California-Irvine) explores the range and significance of popular literature inspired by the Civil War, from 1861-1865, in both the North and the South. The types of works and topics analyzed include war poetry, sentimental war stories, sensational war novels, war humor, war juveniles, war songs, collections of war-related anecdotes, and war histories, appearing in newspapers, illustrated weeklies, monthly periodicals, cheap weekly "story papers," pamphlets, broadsides, song sheets, and books. Fahs considers the diversity of the war's political and social meanings, and the personal responses to the ideological dilemmas posed by the war as expressed in these little-known works.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Alice Fahs is associate professor of history at the University of California, Irvine.
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