Fanny Kemble's Civil Wars

Fanny Kemble's Civil Wars

3.81 (54 ratings by Goodreads)

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Description

A British stage star turned Georgia plantation mistress, Fanny Kemble is perhaps best remembered as a critic of slavery--and an influential opponent of this institution during the years leading up to the Civil War. By the mid-1830s, American society was firmly in the grip of Kemble's celebrity as an actress--young ladies adopted "Fanny Kemble curls," a tulip was named in her honor, and lecture attendance at Harvard fell so sharply on afternoons of Kemble's matinees that professors threatened to cancel classes. Catherine Clinton's insightful biography chronicles these early portraits of Fanny's life and shows how her role in society changed drastically after her bitter and short-lived marriage to the heir of a Georgia plantation owner, whom she derisively called her "lord and master." We witness the publication of Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation, in which Kemble hauntingly records the "simple horror" and misery she saw among the slaves. The raw power of her words made for an influential anti-slavery tract, which swayed European sentiment toward the Union cause. The book was embraced by Northern critics as "a permanent and most valuable chapter in our history" (Atlantic Monthly). In Fanny Kemble's Civil Wars, Catherine Clinton reveals how one woman's life reflected in microcosm the public battles--over slavery, the role of women, and sectionalism--that fueled our nation's greatest conflict and have permanently marked our history.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 302 pages
  • 156.5 x 235 x 20.8mm | 430.92g
  • Oxford University Press, USA
  • Oxford, England, United States
  • English
  • Oxf Univ PR Pbk.
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0195148150
  • 9780195148152

Review quote

"Clinton doesn't insist that her subject was flawless, but she finds her irresistible."--The New Yorker "[Clinton] compellingly recreates the trials and torments of one of the 19th century's most remarkable women."--Parade "Having brought Fanny Kemble to our attention is a worthy accomplishment, one all readers, theatre-goers, and champions of human rights ought to be thankful for."--The Boston Sunday Globe "Catherine Clinton tells this story very well, adeptly mixing the strands of Kemble's multidimensional and bicontinental life...the author traces both the exotic and the typical qualities of this saga."--St. Louis Post-Dispatchshow more

About Professor Catherine Clinton

Catherine Clinton is a writer and historian who has published widely in the fields of southern studies, African American studies, women's studies and the American Civil War. She is the Mark Clark Visiting Chair of History at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina for 2001-2002 and an affiliate of the Gelder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University. She is currently completing a biography of Harriet Tubman. She lives in Riverside, Connecticut.show more

Rating details

54 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 22% (12)
4 43% (23)
3 30% (16)
2 6% (3)
1 0% (0)
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