Scarlett Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Scarlett Doesn't Live Here Anymore : SOUTHERN WOMEN IN THE CIVIL WAR ERA

3.62 (40 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Focusing on women--white and black, rich and poor--in the 19th Century South, Edwards reveals a fascinating, more complete portrait of the women and women's roles, political and social, that reach far beyond the air-headed, passive stereotypes of the slave and Southern Belle.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 22.86mm | 272.15g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0252072189
  • 9780252072185

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Scarlett Doesn't Live Here Anymore is a dynamic history of the South in the years leading up to and following the Civil War -- a history that focuses on the women who made up the fabric of southern life before and during the war and remade themselves and their world after it.Establishing the household as the central institution of southern society, Edwards delineates the inseparable links between domestic relations and civil and political rights in ways that highlight women's active political role throughout the nineteenth century. She draws on diaries, letters, newspaper accounts, government records, legal documents, court proceedings, and other primary sources to explore the experiences and actions of individual women in the changing South, demonstrating how family, kin, personal reputation, and social context all merged with gender, race, and class to shape what particular women could do in particular circumstances.Meet Harriet Jacobs, the escaped slave who hid in a tiny, unheated attic on her master's property for seven years until she could free her children and herself. Marion Singleton Deveaux Converse, the southern belle who leaped out a second-story window to escape her second husband's "discipline" and received temporary shelter from her slaves. Sarah Guttery, white, poor, unwed mother of two, whose hard work and clean living earned her community's respect despite her youthful transgressions. Aunt Lucy, who led her fellow slaves in taking over her master's abandoned plantation and declared herself the new mistress.Through vivid portraits of these and other slaves, free blacks, common whites, and the white elite, Edwards shows how women's domestic situations determinedtheir lives before the war and their responses to secession and armed conflict. She also documents how women of various classes entered into the process of rebuilding and how they asserted new rights and explored new roles after the war.An ideal basic text on society in the Civil War era, Scarlett Doesn't Live Here Anymore demonstrates how women on every step of the social ladder used the resources at their disposal to fashion their own positive identities, to create the social bonds that sustained them in difficult times, and to express powerful social critiques that helped them make sense of their lives. Throughout the period, Edwards shows, women worked actively to shape southern society in ways that fulfilled their hopes for the future.show more

Review quote

"Edwards has written a new Civil War history, dominated not by causes, battles, and generals and politicians, but by the home front... [Edwards] makes the vital claim that African American and poorer white southerners played as great a role in creating the New South as did the elite of the planter classes... Any future histories approaching this field would surely suffer by ignoring Edwards' groundbreaking work." -- Sarah Gleeson-White, Australasian Journal of American Studies "Writing with admirable clarity and economy ...[Edwards] has given us a book designed to incorporate the lives of southern women into a Civil War-era lecture course... Rather than hewing to any romantic notion of southern sisterhood, Edwards concentrates on revealing the differences among southern women -- of race and class, of ideology, of social mores -- and the conflicts such differences generated." -- Jane Dailey, Journal of American History "A highly original work by a talented scholar. Pinpointing the intersection of political and social history, the effects of public policy on people's daily lives, Edwards presents a fresh and welcome approach to explaining historical change. Her work has important implications beyond the internecine struggles of Reconstruction-era Granville County." -- John David Smith, Atlanta History "This elegantly written and thoughtfully constructed work introduces readers to a range of themes and tensions in the family history and wider social history of the mid-nineteenth-century South... The book succeeds resoundingly in interweaving a variety of life stories with the larger history of the sectional crisis... A highly readable, thoroughly researched, and reasonably nuanced account." -- Bruce Collins, The Historian "The first major work to synthesize the voluminous literature on southern women during the Civil War era." -- Blain Roberts, Southern Historian "Offers a sophisticated analysis of the relationship between public and private, family and society, and the household and the state... An excellent introduction to southern women's history. Those in search of a basic text on southern women's history or of a work on women's experiences to include in a course on Civil War and Reconstruction need look no further than this well-crafted volume." -- Any Jabour, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society "A well-written, basic narrative of the Civil War South from the female perspective, which offers a stimulating and accessible introduction to a thriving area of historical research and debate." -- S-M Grant, The Americas "This is a lively and compelling portrait of southern women during a time of tremendous upheaval. In clear and vivid prose, Laura Edwards demonstrates how these women -- young and old, rich and poor, white and black -- used the resources at their command to become actors, not simply victims, in the unfolding historical drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Edwards helps not only to restore women to their proper place in history but also to alter the way in which we think about this crucial period in our nation's past." -- Peter Bardaglio, author of Reconstructing the Household: Families, Sex, and the Law in the Nineteenth-Century South "Scarlett Doesn't Live Here Anymore is an unusual and invaluable book that offers our first synthesis of a vibrant new literature on southern women. Laura Edwards is at the forefront of efforts to broaden the meaning of politics, link the so-called private with the public sphere, and challenge the assumption that southern women remained politically passive-and thus historically uninteresting-until they belatedly followed their northern sisters into the twentieth-century women's movement." Jacquelyn Hall, author of Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill Worldshow more

Rating details

40 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 20% (8)
4 38% (15)
3 28% (11)
2 15% (6)
1 0% (0)
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