Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-11

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

This book is about seven white southern women who, before the Southern Literary Renaissance, tried to come to terms with their experience by writing fiction and succeeded—at least in the practical sense of surviving to another day as professional writers. They are: Augusta Evans, Grace King, Kate Chopin, Mary Johnston, Ellen Glasgow, Frances Newman, and Marg...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-21

I am indebted so deeply to the many people who have helped in the creation of this book that to speak of a single author seems illusory. For the example of their passionate commitment, I would like first to thank two former teachers, Julia Randall Sawyer and C. Hugh Holman. In their differing ways and places, they taught me the complex pleasures of literature. With my own students I continue to enjoy those pleasures: to them, too, thanks...

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CHAPTER I: Dixie's Diadem

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pp. 3-50

Southern men have toasted and celebrated southern womanhood since the South began to think of itself as a region, probably before the American Revolution. The lady, with her grace and hospitality, seemed the flower of a uniquely southern civilization, the embodiment of all it prized most deeply—a generosity...

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CHAPTER II: Augusta Jane Evans: Paradise Regained

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pp. 51-92

During the period 1820-1870 and beyond, "woman's fiction," or "sentimental," or "domestic" fiction, was written by a dozen or so American women—one of them Augusta Jane Evans—for an eager audience of other American women. The novels were overwhelmingly popular, and through this movement, "authorship in America was established as a woman's profession, and reading...

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CHAPTER III: Grace King: That Great Mother Stream Underneath

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pp. 93-134

Grace King was born in 1851, 1852, or 1853: the sources vary.1 In any case, she was old enough to experience and remember vividly the period of Civil War and Reconstruction; much of her work is set in New Orleans during the latter period. "It had been her grand theme," says Robert Bush, ". . . defending the character of New Orleans and upholding the quality of its traditions."2 By 1853, both its economic...

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CHAPTER IV: Kate Chopin: The Life Behind the Mask

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pp. 135-182

Of the writers discussed in this study, with the exception of Ellen Glasgow, Kate Chopin is the only one whose life and work are today the subjects of widespread serious critical work. Although she is also the only writer not born in the South (Kate Chopin was born in St. Louis, Missouri), no quick conclusions can be drawn. For St. Louis was a town that, as Per Seyersted describes it, "had...

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CHAPTER V: Mary Johnston: The Woman Warrior

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pp. 183-224

In the year of her death, Edward Wagenknecht said about Mary Johnston that "twenty-five years ago her romances of colonial Virginia were selling by the hundreds of thousands. Today she is neglected."1 That was in 1936; now she is remembered, if at all, for her 1900 tale of colonial Jamestown, To Have and To Hold, and for the two films made of the novel. But in 1936 at least one...

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CHAPTER VI: Ellen Glasgow: The Perfect Mould

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pp. 225-270

Mary Johnston published Hagar in 1913. In the same year, Ellen Glasgow— who was to become by far the better-known writer—published her own study of southern womankind. While Hagar looked to the future, though, Virginia looked to the past to examine what Glasgow believed was a dying breed: the Southern Lady. Published in the year she turned...

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CHAPTER VII: Frances Newman: The World's Lessons

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pp. 271-312

The change in mores that characterized the United States after World War I was hardly remote from the South. Zelda Fitzgerald, probably the most famous flapper of all, was born and raised in Alabama. And the novels of another southern woman, Frances Newman, reflect culturally relaxed attitudes towards sexuality in their very...

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CHAPTER VIII: Margaret Mitchell: The Bad Little Girl of the Good Old Days

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pp. 313-350

There is little doubt that Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell knew what it meant to be a southern lady. She was born to the role, reared to it, and to a great extent lived it, in Atlanta, as Mrs. John R. Marsh. In a telegram to Marsh just after his wife's death in 1949, President Harry S. Truman said that "the author of Gone...

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CHAPTER IX: Conclusion: Tomorrow Is Another Day

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pp. 351-362

By the time Scarlett says "tomorrow is another day" for the last time near the end of Gone With the Wind, the phrase has accrued at least two sorts of meaning. As a girl infatuated with Ashley and unduly confident of her power to control her own life, Scarlett used these words evasively. When she said them, the reader knew she was avoiding reality, fooling herself in the belief that what...

Notes

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pp. 363-382

Bibliography

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pp. 383-402

Index

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pp. 403-413