Reading Southern History: Essays on Interpreters and Interpretations

By Wyatt-Brown, Bertram | The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, April 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

Reading Southern History: Essays on Interpreters and Interpretations


Wyatt-Brown, Bertram, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography


Reading Southern History: Essays on Interpreters and Interpretations. Edited by GLENN FELDMAN. Tuscaloosa and London: University of Alabama Press, 2001. xii, 376 pp. $54.95 cloth; $24.95 paper.

EDITOR Glenn Feldman provides a most interesting and valuable compilation of essays on the region's chief historians, with each one stressing the interrelationship of the subject's life and major contributions. Feldman begins: "The South is a special place" (p. 3). "Special" the South may be-- along with mysterious, ornery, mindless, enchanting, raging, and a score of other adjectives. But in the course of reading this volume, another term-depressing-seems fitting and for more than one reason. Liberal-minded scholars like Kenneth Stampp, as James Oakes points out, found nothing to commend in antebellum slavery nor in the romantic gloss so long piously lavished on it. Susan Ashmore's essay on George Tindall, on the other hand, reveals his emphasis on dynamic change, particularly in recent years. But even Tindall had to report the gloomy prospects for the poor and forgotten, black and white. As a pioneer of southern women's studies, Anne Scott took shrewd account of women's plight under tradition-bound patriarchy. In Ted Ownby's fine essay, Sam S. Hill, father of southern religious history, broke forcefully with the filiopietistic church historians to note how southern Christians, lay and clerical, lamely forgot the Gospel message when it came to racial matters. The South, these writers observe, has had much to answer for.

Likewise, conservative scholars, who are exhaustively represented herein, try the reader's good humor with their querulous defense of Old South glory in war and peace. Certainly such sentiments pervaded the work of Ulrich Phillips, whom Junius P. Rodriguez most judiciously treats as the professional scholar he was-despite his abysmal racism. Similarly, with admirable detachment, Fred Bailey discloses E. Merton Coulter's peremptory rejection of any new idea and records his grave distress with the liberal school that traitorously arose, he thought, in his latter years. Anthony Carey's Frank Owsley, a Vanderbilt Agrarian, also rang the romantic changes on the Confederate cause but resurrected the culture of the nonslaveholding yeomanry. But, among the genteel mossbacks, Feldman situates an exemplary piece by Jacquelyn Dowd Hall on Broadus Mitchell, perhaps the first serious economic historian of the region. A writer with a journalistic bent, Mitchell was refreshingly ahead of his time in deploring the subjugation of the black race. Yet he too fell victim to southern romanticism in his portrayal of New South textile mill owners. That position contradicted Mitchell's championing of radical and anti-racist causes throughout his prolific career.

Like Mitchell, W. E. B. DuBois was acutely aware of social and racial conflict as ingredients of the southern past, but he was the first to explore the history of the migrating southern black who inhabited urban centers. In his thoughtful evaluation of DuBois as a "southern" historian, Joe Trotter illuminates the brilliance of the Harvard-trained intellectual. However refreshingly uplifting the description, DuBois was sadly denied the respect he deserved from white academia during his lifetime. Such was not the fate of Rupert Vance, whose contribution to southern social science is handsomely developed by John Shelton Reed and Daniel Singal. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reading Southern History: Essays on Interpreters and Interpretations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.