The Civil War Dead and American Modernity

 
 
Oxford University Press
  • erschienen am 2. Januar 2018
  • |
  • 352 Seiten
 
E-Book | ePUB mit Adobe DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-0-19-084836-1 (ISBN)
 
The Civil War Dead and American Modernity offers a fundamental rethinking of the cultural importance of the American Civil War dead. Tracing their representational afterlife across a massive array of historical, visual, and literary documents from 1861 to 1914, Ian Finseth maintains that the war dead played a central, complex, and paradoxical role in how Americans experienced and understood the modernization of the United States. From eyewitness accounts of battle to photographs and paintings, and from full-dress histories of the war to fictional narratives, Finseth shows that the dead circulated through American cultural life in ways that we have not fully appreciated, and that require an expanded range of interpretive strategies to understand. While individuals grieved and relinquished their own loved ones, the collective Civil War dead, Finseth argues, came to form a kind of symbolic currency that informed Americans' melancholic relationship to their own past. Amid the turbulence of the postbellum era, as the United States embarked decisively upon its technological, geopolitical, and intellectual modernity, the dead provided an illusion of coherence, intelligibility, and continuity in the national self. At the same time, they seemed to represent a traumatic break in history and the loss of a simpler world, and their meanings could never be completely contained by the political discourse that surrounded them. Reconstructing the formal, rhetorical, and ideological strategies by which postwar American society reimagined, and continues to reimagine, the Civil War dead, Finseth also shows that a strain of critical thought was alert to this dynamic from the very years of the war itself. The Civil War Dead and American Modernity is at once a study of the politics of mortality, the disintegration of American Victorianism, and the role of visual and literary art in both forming and undermining social consensus.
  • Englisch
  • 3,59 MB
978-0-19-084836-1 (9780190848361)
0190848367 (0190848367)
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Ian Finseth is Associate Professor of American Literature at the University of North Texas. His scholarly work focuses on the literary history of transatlantic slavery, abolitionism, and the American Civil War. Dr. Finseth was born in Boston, grew up in California, and earned degrees from UC Berkeley (B.A.), the University of Virginia (M.A.), and UNC-Chapel Hill (Ph.D.)
Introduction Section I. The "Ghastly Spectacle": Witnessing Civil War Death Chapter 1: The problem of experience Chapter 2: Sense, affect, representation Chapter 3: Faces, names, types, families Chapter 4: Melancholy reflections Section II. Body Images: The Civil War Dead in Visual Culture Chapter 1: Photography and the question of empathy Chapter 2: The illustrated dead Chapter 3: Lithography, history, allegory Chapter 4: Painting and the enigma of visibility Section III. Blood and Ink: Historicizing the Civil War Dead Chapter 1: Objectivity, partisanship, nationalism Chapter 2: The early years: Northern determinism Chapter 3: The early years: Southern alienation Chapter 4: Later years: The convergence Chapter 5: African American counterhistory Section IV. Plotting Mortality: The Civil War Dead and the Narrative Imaginatio Chapter 1: Modernity, disenchantment, and the agons of realism Chapter 2: "Grieve not so": Loss and the new woman Chapter 3: Narratives ajar: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps and the refusal of closure Chapter 4: Farewell, sacrificial hero Chapter 5: The returning dead Epilogue
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