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Corra Harris (1869-1935) was one of the most widely published and nationally popular women writers in the United States. A Circuit Rider's Wife (1910) was Georgia's most celebrated novel for nearly three decades. Now little read and almost forgotten, Harris's life offers a fascinating glimpse into a world nearly unimaginable to us today.
In her writing, Harris poignantly and often humorously captured the paradoxes characteristic of the New South, a time and place of radically divergent goals. Pressed by national and economic demands to modernize, and regional desire to hold on to the past, leaders struggled at the turn of the century to reconcile competing goals. Issues of race, class, and gender found in Harris's writing were at the heart of the struggle.
In depicting the complexities of Harris's era, her life, and her personality, historian Catherine Oglesby offers a remarkable insight into early twentieth-century literature and culture. She demonstrates the ways Harris's work and life both differed from and were the same as other southern women writers, and reveals the ways time and place intersect with race, class, gender, and other variables in the forging of identity.
Manhood and Humor in the Old South
Counterfeit Gentlemen is a stunning reappraisal of Southern manhood and identity that uses humor and humorists to carry the reader into the very heart of antebellum culture.
What does it mean to be a man in the pre–Civil War South? And how can we answer the question from the perspective of the early twenty-first century? John Mayfield does so by revealing how early nineteenth-century Southern humorists addressed the anxieties felt by men seeking to chart a new path between the old honor culture and the new market culture. Lacking the constraints imposed by journalism or proper literature, these writers created fictional worlds where manhood and identity could be tested and explored.
Preoccupied alternately by moonlight and magnolias and racism and rape, we have continually presented ourselves with an Old South so mirthless it couldn't breathe. If all Mayfield did was remind us that Old Southerners laughed, he would have accomplished something. But he also offers a sophisticated analysis of the social functions humor performed and the social anxieties it reflected.
Explores the politics and meanings of citizenry and citizens’ rights in the nineteenth-century American South: from the full citizenship of some white males to the partial citizenship of women with no voting rights, from the precarious position of free blacks and enslaved African American anti-citizens, to postwar Confederate rebels who were not “loyal citizens” according to the federal government but forcibly asserted their citizenship as white supremacy was restored in the Jim Crow South.
The Literary Friendship of Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
One of the twentieth century's most intriguing and complicated literary friendships was that between Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. In death, their reputations have reversed, but in the early 1940s Rawlings had already achieved wild success with her best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Yearling, while Hurston had published Their Eyes Were Watching God to unfavorable critical reviews.
When they met, both were at the height of their literary powers. Hurston appears to have sought out Rawlings as a writer who could understand her talent and as a potential patron and champion. Rawlings did become an advocate for Hurston, and by all accounts a warm friendship developed between the two. Yet at every turn, Rawlings's own racism and the societal norms of the Jim Crow South loomed on the horizon, until her friendship with Hurston transformed Rawlings's views on the subject and made her an advocate for racial equality.
Anna Lillios's Crossing the Creek is the first book to examine the productive and complex relationship between these two major figures. Is there truth to the story that Hurston offered to work as Rawlings's maid? Why did Rawlings host a tea for Hurston in St. Augustine? In what ways did each write the friendship into their novels? Using interviews with individuals who knew both women, as well as incisive readings of surviving letters, Lillios examines these questions and many others in this remarkable book.
Women's Interracial Activism in South Carolina during and after World War II
They lived deeply separate lives. They wrestled with what Brown v. Board of Education would mean for their communities. And although they were accustomed to a segregated society, many women in South Carolina--both black and white--knew that the unequal racial status quo in their state had to change.
Crossing the Line reveals the early activism of black women in organizations including the NAACP, the South Carolina Progressive Democratic Party, and the South Carolina Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. It also explores the involvement of white women in such groups as the YWCA and Church Women United. Their agendas often conflicted and their attempts at interracial activism were often futile, but these black and white women had the same goal: to improve black South Carolinians’ access to political and educational institutions.
Examining the tumultuous years during and after World War II, Jones-Branch contends that these women are the unsung heroes of South Carolina’s civil rights history. Their efforts to cross the racial divide in South Carolina helped set the groundwork for the broader civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Rounding Cape Horn in 1860
Cruise of the Dashing Wave recounts a harrowing 1860 clipper ship passage from Boston to San Francisco by way of Cape Horn, as recorded by Philip Hichborn, ship's carpenter, in his journal.
On board the Dashing Wave, even the disagreeable food was a blessing as it distracted the crew from the oppressive cruelty of the elements. The weather and heavy seas of Cape Horn pushed the sailors to their physical limits and often punctuated their watches with moments of despair, amazement, and fear.
Hichborn would later rise to become a major figure in the U.S. Navy, but on this, his first voyage, he was still unfamiliar with life aboard ship. As ship's carpenter, he was not obligated to stand watch at night, giving him unique opportunities to observe and make notes on an extraordinary cruise that weathered devastating gales, ice, and snow; the death of a crew member; and a near mutiny.
Most accounts of seafaring are written by captains, mates, or members of the forecastle crew, but this unusually candid account captures life aboard a nineteenth-century tall ship from the point of view of a landsman. As such, it lays bare the social and professional interactions of a team of strangers stressed to the point of rebellion and murder--revealing that the rigid traditional hierarchy of a ship could be challenged by a man of skill and personality.
International Relations, Internationalism, and Transnationalism
Cuba in a Global Context examines the unlikely prominence of the island nation's geopolitical role. The contributors to this volume explore the myriad ways in which Cuba has not only maintained but often increased its reach and influence in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
From the beginning, the Castro regime established a foreign policy that would legitimize the revolutionary government, if not in the eyes of the United States at least in the eyes of other global actors. The essays in this volume shed new light on Cuban diplomacy with communist China as well as with Western governments such as Great Britain and Canada.
In recent years, Cubans have improved their lives in the face of the ongoing U.S. embargo. The promotion of increased economic and political cooperation between Cuba and Venezuela served as a catalyst for the Petrocaribe group. Links established with countries in the Caribbean and Central America have increased tourism, medical diplomacy, and food sovereignty across the region. Cuban transnationalism has also succeeded in creating people-to-people contacts involving those who have remained on the island and members of the Cuban diaspora. While the specifics of Cuba's international relations are likely to change as new leaders take over, the role of Cubans working to assert their sovereignty has undoubtedly impacted every corner of the globe.
Daily Life in the Twilight of the Revolution
Amelia Weinreb takes readers deep inside the everyday life of middle-class Cubans--arguably the majority of citizens on the island. Un-theorized and under-described, it is a group that is portrayed honestly, accurately, and empathetically.
The political and economic systems of Cuba in the post-Soviet period pose ongoing challenges to ordinary Cubans as they struggle in the waning years of the Castro regime. Weinreb demonstrates that the major reason they have been ignored in the scholarly literature is because remaining obscure is one of their strategies for coping with these challenges.
Weinreb has made repeated visits to the island, frequently living in local communities along with her family. Thus her ethnography of this "shadow public" is based upon traditional participant-observer methodology. Her experiences--from the clothesline, the back bedroom, the kitchen table, and the living room sofa--allow her an unprecedented opportunity to bring to outside readers the reality of daily life in Cuba, and she includes an epilogue that addresses citizen and consumer changes that have taken place since Raúl Castro became president in February 2008.
No other book reveals so much about the anxieties and clandestine plans that have shaped Cubans' lives during the final years of the Fidel Castro era.
Beat Writers in Revolutionary Havana
Immediately after the Cuban Revolution, Havana fostered an important transnational intellectual and cultural scene. Later, Castro would strictly impose his vision of Cuban culture on the populace and the United States would bar its citizens from traveling to the island, but for these few fleeting years the Cuban capital was steeped in many liberal and revolutionary ideologies and influences.
Some of the most prominent figures in the Beat Movement, including Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Amiri Baraka, were attracted to the new Cuba as a place where people would be racially equal, sexually free, and politically enfranchised. What they experienced had resounding and lasting literary effects both on their work and on the many writers and artists they encountered and fostered.
Todd Tietchen clearly documents the multiple ways in which the Beats engaged with the scene in Havana. He also demonstrates that even in these early years the Beat movement expounded a diverse but identifiable politics.
Catholicism underwent momentous change as it transitioned to the modern era and the relatively new colonial environments of North America and the Caribbean. Critical to this evolution was the role of women in religion.
John J. Clune Jr. examines the impact of the eighteenth-century European Enlightenment on the lives of nuns in colonial Cuba and New Orleans, both crucial centers of Catholicism where women had significant influence.
Only recently have scholars begun to give attention to the importance of female religious life in the Spanish Empire. Clune illustrates the changing attitudes toward convents in the eighteenth century by contrasting the Clares, Dominicans, and Carmelites of Havana with the Ursulines of New Orleans (and later of Cuba). Built upon research in the archives of Spain, Cuba, Louisiana, and Texas, Clune acknowledges the importance of female religious life in the Spanish Empire and demonstrates that the decline in prestige of female religious orders in Latin America began not with Vatican II in the mid-twentieth century but with enlightened reform during the reigns of Spanish kings Charles III and Charles IV.