Cover

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Title Page

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Front Matter

Copyright

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Dedication

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

This book might have started in many ways. It could have begun, for example, in Mrs. Florence’s English class when I was in the sixth grade. She assigned a book report but specifically outlawed anything from the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew series, so I went rummaging through my mother’s Book-of-the-Month Club selections and came up with the shortest ...

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Introduction: Negotiating Manhood in the Old South

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pp. xiii-xxviii

This is a book about values and identity in the Old South. It uses ideas about manhood to examine those values, and it uses humor to explore manhood. It is not, strictly speaking, a book about the comic tradition in the South, a subject that has been thoroughly and skillfully explored.1 ...

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1. The Conception and Estimate of a Gentleman

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pp. 1-24

BEFORE THERE WAS Sut Lovingood or Ransy Sniffle or Simon Suggs or the Big Bear of Arkansas, there was the Virginia gentleman. All models of Southern manhood and masculinity had their reference point, their high ground, in this single figure, which went by several names: squire, the quality, country republican, aristocrat, Washington, Lee. Even his more ...

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2. Georgia Theatrics, Georgia Yankees

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pp. 25-47

AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME Kennedy was finishing Swallow Barn, a lawyer from Augusta, Georgia, decided (for no recorded reason) to write down accounts of some of the stranger characters he had met riding circuit as a judge. The stories first appeared in local newspapers, then in 1835 as a book, Georgia Scenes. The author, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, wrote them off as a “literary bagatelle,” a mild attempt at social history. ...

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3. Counterfeit Presentments

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pp. 48-66

IN 1833 JOHNSON JONES HOOPER informed his mother that he was tired of working menial jobs “without any hope of going to college.”1 He left Charleston to join an older brother in Alabama. Four years later, up in the Shenandoah Valley, Joseph Glover Baldwin threw a few law books into his saddlebags and headed off in the same direction. ...

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4. Useful Alloys

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pp. 67-82

THERE IS A MOMENT NEAR THE END OF Thomas Bangs Thorpe’s only novel, The Master’s House, when the hero, Graham Mildmay, gathers up his rifle and tries to slip away, as if going off on a hunt. His wife stops him for an awkward moment, looking at the gun. “I could not have the ...

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5. Swamp Fevers

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pp. 83-104

Henry Clay Lewis, physician and humorist, once stole a baby—a “dead nigger baby,” to use his exact terms. He did it because anatomy fascinated him, and he wanted his own specimen “to while away the tedious hours with” while he waited for dinner. He also stole it simply because it was ...

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6. Notes from the Underground

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pp. 105-122

THE SOUTHERN MAN OF HONOR may have been pitifully equipped for dealing with the changing marketplace, but he was a powerful ally in the coming war over who would control the expansion of slavery. The gentleman’s paternalistic benevolence and his domestic values of family and home-centered responsibility were far more effective apologies ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 123-128

WHEN WAR BROKER OUT, John Pendleton Kennedy was an elder statesman with plenty of spare time in which to reflect and opinionate. In the 1850s he had made a final attempt at obtaining national prominence, serving as secretary of the navy under Fillmore, and then had largely settled into his role as gentleman patron of Baltimore’s mixed Southern and Northern elites. He dabbled in nativism, as did so many displaced ...

Notes

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pp. 129-139

Bibliography

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pp. 141-155

Index

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pp. 157-173

About the Author

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Series List

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