Violence And Culture In The Antebellum South

Violence And Culture In The Antebellum South

by Jr. Dickson D. Bruce


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This provocative book draws from a variety of sources—literature, politics, folklore, social history—to attempt to set Southern beliefs about violence in a cultural context. According to Dickson D. Bruce, the control of violence was a central concern of antebellum Southerners.

Using contemporary sources, Bruce describes Southerners’ attitudes as illustrated in their duels, hunting, and the rhetoric of their politicians. He views antebellum Southerners as pessimistic and deeply distrustful of social relationships and demonstrates how this world view impelled their reliance on formal controls to regularize human interaction.

The attitudes toward violence of masters, slaves, and “plain-folk”—the three major social groups of the period—are differentiated, and letters and family papers are used to illustrate how Southern child-rearing practices contributed to attitudes toward violence in the region. The final chapter treats Edgar Allan Poe as a writer who epitomized the attitudes of many Southerners before the Civil War.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292739925
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 11/15/2011
Pages: 334
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Dickson D. Bruce, Jr., is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Southern Duel
  • 2. Preparation for Violence: Child-Rearing and the Southern World View
  • 3. Feeling and Form: The Problem of Violence in Society
  • 4. Violence in Plain-Folk Society
  • 5. Slavery and Violence: The Masters’ View
  • 6. Slavery and Violence: The Slaves’ View
  • 7. Militarism and Violence
  • 8. Violence and Southern Oratory
  • 9. Hunting, Violence, and Culture
  • 10. Violence in Southern Fiction: Simms and the Southwestern Humorists
  • Conclusion: Edgar Allan Poe and the Southern World View
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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