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BOOK REVIEWS359 The Enchanted Country: Northern Writers in the South 1865-1910. By Anne B. Rowe. (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1978. Pp. 155. $11.95.) Every teacher has his favorite boner. Mine has been the identification of Harriet Beecher Stowe as the author of "Dixie". After reading Anne Rowe's studies of Northern writers in the South I'm not sure it was a boner. For the surprising revelation ofthis book is that the little lady who made the big war had all the Southern stereotypes—capering darkies devoted to perfect ladies and gentlemen and cruelty only from a Yankee overseer. It would beless surprising ifthe stereotypes had surfacedafter the war when many longed for reconciliation with the South. Actually they are full-blown in the original edition. Mrs. Stowe is one ofseven writers connected in this study only by their attraction to the South and their origin outside it. The attraction is not surprising. In addition to the charm of its landscape, the South was warm. Nineteenth century Northerners who knew neither the automobile nor central heating would not have had to be reminded of that. For Lafcadio Hearn, born on a Greek island, Southern warmth was crucial to his choice of residence. The same was probably true of Constance Woolson. (In neither case is it suggested that affection for the South depended merely on weather. Temperament was as important as temperature.) Owen Wister and Henry James, bom in a less Spartan time, were attracted rather by Southern ladies and gentlemen with fine manners in old houses. Their love for the South was real; it was also a stick with which to beat the new industrial civilization. Albion Tourgée is the activist of the group. Judge and reformer under Reconstruction, he stayed in the South to wage a fruitless struggle on behalf of the blacks for over a decade. John De Forest shared Tourgée's belief that the South was in need of reform, which the North could supply but exasperatingly would not. But he lacked Tourgée's sympathy for the blacks and stayed in the South only a year and ahalf after the war. He may well be the most interesting of our septet but his best works were written in New Haven and do not deal with Southern themes. Space does not permit analysis of the symbolisms with which Ms. Rowe invests her subjects, but the reader who wishes to pursue them will be rewarded. The book appears a bit overpriced. But what isn't? James B. Gidney Kent State University The Children of Bhdensfteld. By Evelyn D. Ward. Introduction by Peter Matthiessen. (New York: The Viking Press, 1978. Pp. 141. $14.95.) Evelyn D. Ward was only seven years old when the Civil War began. In 1920, at the age of sixty-seven, "Aunt Evie" decided to bequeath her ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
p. 359
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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