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The Burden of Southern History

C. Vann Woodward

Publication Year: 2008

C. Vann Woodward's The Burden of Southern History remains one of the essential history texts of our time. In it Woodward brilliantly addresses the interrelated themes of southern identity, southern distinctiveness, and the strains of irony that characterize much of the South's historical experience. First published in 1960, the book quickly became a touchstone for generations of students. This updated third edition contains a chapter, "Look Away, Look Away," in which Woodward finds a plethora of additional ironies in the South's experience. It also includes previously uncollected appreciations of Robert Penn Warren, to whom the book was originally dedicated, and William Faulkner. This edition also features a new foreword by historian William E. Leuchtenburg in which he recounts the events that led up to Woodward's writing The Burden of Southern History, and reflects on the book's—and Woodward's—place in the study of southern history. The Burden of Southern History is quintessential Woodward—wise, witty, ruminative, daring, and as alive in the twenty-first century as when it was written.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

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pp. x-xx

IN A FRIENDSHIP OF MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY, I SAW C. Vann Woodward on countless occasions—almost always at a point . . .

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Preface to the Third Edition

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pp. xxi-xxii

THE TWO REVISIONS OF THE ORIGINAL EDITION OF 1960, THE first in 1968 and this, the second, have had much the same purpose: to test . . .

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Preface to the First Edition

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pp. xxiii-xxvii

THE EXAMPLES SET BY OTHERS WHO HAVE ATTEMPTED TO say why the heritage, or the collective character, or the general outlook of . . .

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pp. xxix-xxx

FOR PERMISSION TO REPRINT THE ESSAYS THAT HAVE already appeared I am grateful to the original publishers:
"The Search for Southern Identity" was . . .

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1 The Search for Southern Identity

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pp. 3-25

THE TIME IS COMING, IF INDEED IT HAS NOT ALREADY arrived, when the Southerner will begin to ask himself whether there is really . . .

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2 The Historical Dimension

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pp. 27-39

IT WOULD SEEM TO BE HIGH TIME FOR SOME SOUTHERN historian to abandon temporarily the standoffishness of his guild and make his . . .

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3 John Brown's Private War

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pp. 41-68

THE FIGURE OF JOHN BROWN is STILL WRAPPED IN OBSCURity and myth. In the fourteen biographies of Brown published since 1859, the . . .

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4 Equality: The Deferred Commitment

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pp. 69-88

NOW THAT THE DRIVE IS ON TO GIVE ACCUSTOMED CANT about equality for the Negro some basis in fact and to deliver on promises . . .

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5 The Political Legacy of the First Reconstruction

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pp. 89-107

OF ALL THE REVOLUTIONARY PROPOSALS THAT EVENTUALLY received the sanction of law in the upheaval of Reconstruction, the proposal . . .

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6 A Southern Critique for the Gilded Age

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pp. 109-140

ONE TRADITIONAL MEANS THE SOUTH EMPLOYED FOR DEfining its identity and keeping the image clear was the running critique of . . .

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7 The Populist Heritage and the Intellectual

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pp. 141-166

THIRTY YEARS AFTER SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR, THE South suffered a second alienation from the dominant national spirit. This received . . .

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8 What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement

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pp. 167-187

STUDENTS OF NEGRO LIFE IN AMERICA HAVE ENJOYED some rare Opportunities during recent years. As if adopting the techniques of the . . .

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9 The Irony of Southern History

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pp. 187-211

IN A TIME WHEN NATIONALISM SWEEPS EVERYTHING ELSE before it, as it does at present, the regional historian is likely to be oppressed . . .

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10 A Second Look at the Theme of Irony

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pp. 213-233

THIS IS REALLY AN EXTENDED FOOTNOTE TO THE PRECEDING essay, written to relate its ideas to more recent events. When that essay was . . .

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11 Look Away, Look Away

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pp. 235-264

I ONCE QUOTED HENRIK IBSEN AS SAYING THAT THE LIFEspan of what he called a "truth" was at most twenty years and that any truth . . .

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12 The Burden for William Faulkner

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pp. 265-280

IF THE COMPARISON IS NOT CARRIED TOO FAR, WlLLIAM Faulkner's relation to the South resembles James Joyce's relation to Ireland. For both . . .

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13 The Burden for Robert Penn Warren

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pp. 281-288

NO DEATH IN RECENT YEARS LEFT SO LARGE A PLACE TO BE filled in American literary life as that created by the passing of Robert Penn Warren. Well . . .


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pp. 289-304

E-ISBN-13: 9780807149478
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807133804

Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2008