Facing America: Iconography and the Civil War

By Shirley Samuels | Go to book overview

NOTES

Introduction
1
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Historical Register of the Centennial Exposition (New York: Paddington, 1876). The 1876 Philadelphia exhibition saw, among other things, the debut of the Otis elevator and the typewriter.
2
The only bare breast visible among the four women—a bare breast in an extraordinarily awkward position beneath her right arm—belongs to the figure of Africa. It is at once an indifference to her nakedness, a staging of primitive identities, and, perhaps, an allusion to forms of forced maternity or service as a wet nurse.
3
In using terms such as “unintended consequences, ” I acknowledge a debt to the past several decades of work in poststructuralism, including the formulations in Paul de Man, Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism, 2d rev. ed. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983). The very terms of his title have resonance for the formatting that enables this project: processes of vision and visualization haunt my pages. The intrusion of “actual” bodies into the difficult matter of representing them is also at issue, and here the tendencies of theorists in cultural studies to find themselves challenging the text obsessions of poststructuralism find a place. In noting all this, I argue that the process of reading cultural documents can and perhaps should involve the reader in contradiction. Interpretation can release bodies from the sightlines that first arranged their contours in the camera's lens, yet it also repositions them for another viewer. See also the classic essay on Emmanuel Levinas by Jacques Derrida, “Violence and Metaphysics, ” in Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978).
4
See the introductory chapter of Shirley Samuels, Romances of the Republic: Women, the Family, and Violence in the Literature of the Early American Nation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), for a discussion of this trajectory. Also note that I will return to this question in looking at images such as “Abraham's Dream” and “Stephen Finding His Mother, ” in which the politician Stephen

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Facing America: Iconography and the Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Facing America *
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - Facing West 16
  • 2 - Miscegenated America 41
  • 3 - The Face of the Nation 58
  • 4 - Women at War 81
  • 5 - Lincoln's Body 99
  • Epilogue 118
  • Notes 131
  • Bibliography 159
  • Index 179
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