Macaria: Or Altars of SacrificePaperback Library of Southern Civilization
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- Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
- Format: Paperback | 448 pages
- Dimensions: 155mm x 230mm x 30mm | 676g
- Publication date: 1 September 1992
- Publication City/Country: Baton Rouge
- ISBN 10: 0807116629
- ISBN 13: 9780807116623
- Illustrations note: port.
First published in 1864, Macaria; or, Altars of Sacrifice was the third novel of Augusta Jane Evans, one of the leading women writers of nineteenth-century domestic fiction. A wartime best seller, with more than twenty thousand copies in circulation in the print-starved Confederacy before the war's end, the novel was also extremely well received along the Union front, so much so that some northern officials thought it should be banned. Long out of print and largely unavailable until now, Macaria is a compelling narrative about women and war. In Macaria, Evans charts the journey of two southern women toward ultimate self-realization through their service in the war-torn Confederacy. Irene and Electra struggle to assert their independence and gain for themselves a place in southern society apart from their now-disrupted domestic roles. Discarding the traditional theme of romantic fulfillment, Evans skillfully crafts a novel about women compelled by the departure and death of so many southern men to find meaning in their own "single blessedness, " rather than in marriage. Thus Evans successfully subverts the characteristic form of women's fiction, that of the romance narrative, to create a "quest" narrative, more common in men's fiction. Macaria appealed directly and calculatedly to sentiments prevailing within its potential audience of southern women readers - acknowledging their fears of uselessness and of widowhood or spinsterhood, as well as their attraction to a new language of self-determination. In her perceptive introduction to this edition, Drew Gilpin Faust places the novel in the context of the concerns of Confederate nationalism and the contributions of women during the CivilWar. She shows that Evans, though a staunch supporter of the Confederacy and a wartime hospital volunteer, felt marginal to the war effort and, like many other women, bemoaned this fact in diaries and letters. It is from this aspect, the emergence of the literary woman, that Faust
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Drew Gilpin Faust is Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of several books, including The Creation of Confederate Nationalism: Ideology and Identity in the Civil war South and James Henry Hammond and the Old South: A Design for Mastery, for which she received the Charles S. Sydnor Award.
Back cover copy
Evans charts the journey of two southern women toward ultimate self-realization through their service in the war-torn Confederacy. Discarding the theme of romantic fulfillment, Evans skillfully crafts a novel about women compelled by the departure and death of so many southern men to find meaning in their own 'single blessedness, ' rather than in marriage.