Skip to comments.The Author of the Civil War
Posted on 07/07/2012 11:51:43 AM PDT by nickcarraway
At the height of the holiday shopping season of 1860, a bookseller in Richmond, Va., placed a telling advertisement in The Daily Dispatch promoting a selection of "Elegant Books for Christmas and New Year's Presents." Notably, the list of two dozen "choice books, suitable for Holiday Gifts" included five works by the late Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott in "various beautiful bindings."
Sir Walter Scott not only dominated gift book lists on the eve of the Civil War but also dominated Southern literary taste throughout the conflict. His highly idealized depiction of the age of chivalry allowed Southern readers and writers to find positive meaning in war's horrors, hardships and innumerable deaths. And his works inspired countless wartime imitators, who drew upon his romantic conception of combat.
In 1814 Scott had begun his ascension to the heights of literary stardom with the publication of the historical romance "Waverley," which was soon followed by other novels in the so-called Waverley series. The works were an immediate and immense success in Great Britain and America. Over the course of many volumes, Scott glamorized the Middle Ages, at once shaping and popularizing what we now consider the classic tale of chivalry. As one enamored 19th-century reader explained, each of Scott's romances focused upon the "manners and habits of the most interesting and chivalrous periods of Scottish [and] British history."
Among Scott's most famous works was "Ivanhoe," published in 1820. The romance, set in the 12th century, presents a tale of intrigue, love and valor. The plot traces the fortunes of young Wilfred of Ivanhoe as he strives, despite his father's opposition, to gain the hand of the beautiful Lady Rowena. In the course of Ivanhoe's adventures, Richard the Lionheart and Robin Hood appear, and Ivanhoe performs many a remarkable feat.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...
I always liked Sir Walter Scott’s books. I think my favorite one is “Quentin Durward” tho it is not one of the most popular ones.
There was nothing chivalrous about the Land of the Whip and Lash nor the RAT Rebellion. Fantasies aside, slavery was based on an inhumane, anti-American kind of thought and the insurrection was justified with outrageous lies.
I would wager money that I can say two things about this author with confidence. Assuming that Cynthia is of the non-male gender, she does not believe in historical context and she believes in a ‘living US Constitution’ rather than as the Founders wrote it.
I say this because the mind that ‘blames’ a civil war, who’s roots were clear at the time of the US Revolution, upon a popular author writing in the 1820-40s in another country, is the same anchor-less mind that believes that the US Constitution requires national health care.
In opposition to her thesis, I could use the same conceptualization she uses to blame Christianity for the US Civil War. There is no doubt that the vast to overwhelming percentage of the war’s activists and participants not only read the Bible but also frequently went to Church in years, months and weeks preceding and during the war.
Sometimes an author is just expressing the feelings of his time and place and becomes popular because he does it better than anyone else AND as Robert Heinlein put it, it can be very profitable. As the truism goes, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!
Now tell us if you read the entire OPINION piece.
“Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
“This is my own, my native land”?
Whose heart hath ner within him burned
As home his footsteps he hath turned... ?
If such there be, go mark him well...
The wretch, concentrated all in self,
...Doubly dying shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonord, and unsung. ”The Lay of the Last Minstrel” (1805)”
The author of the opinion piece uses Mark Twain to make her point? Twain sounds as if he was jealous of competition from Scott’s books sales.
Most of the people, North and South, read the Bible too.
Nothing says “I love you” better than a Sir Walter Scott book. Elegant English, elegant stories, he does it all.
Wonderful stuff. Beautiful to the ear.
It seems you are not aware of the fact that slavery was brought to the colonies by the British Crown, with Americans from every colony opposing the practice. Is the insurrection your refer to the War of Independence?
Judging the past’s literature by today’s standards and mores is an exercise in futility. If you know something of the culture, it radically changes the book.
Shakespeare is an excellent example. If you are familiar with Elizabethan mores and imagery he is both hilarious and dirty minded.
What does the origin of an evil system have to do with its enthusiastic perpetuation?
Americans never had a choice in how the British government ruled them. They were subjects not citizens. Hence they violated no laws they had agreed to be ruled under.
Naturally your red herring only smells.
I have visited his home in Abbotsford, Scotland, near Melrose. Just being in the area is a delight and the tour is worth going out of one’s way.
Personally I like the comment about charging those who submitted their poetry to the newspapers the same rate as for an obituary. Very funny.
Otherwise, typical academic writing I would say.
Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave.
Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.."
Not just the British Crown. Africans were an integral part of the slave trade, and a slave-holding African, Anthony Johnson (”Antonio The Angolan”) was responsible for bringing the law suit that established chattel slavery for the first time in the colonies.
Colonial attempts to eradicate slavery are well documented, as were the enthusiastic efforts of the Founding Fathers.
Isn’t that the court case that established lifetime slavery?
Yes. Chattel slavery i sa colorful folkway of Africa that they brought here.
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