Facing America: Iconography and the Civil War by Shirley Samuels

By Shirley Samuels

Facing the United States: Iconography and the Civil War investigates and explains the altering face of the USA throughout the Civil warfare. To conjure a face for the country, writer Shirley Samuels additionally explores the physique of the country imagined either bodily and metaphorically, arguing that the Civil battle marks a dramatic shift from determining the yankee state as female to determining it as masculine. Expressions of one of these switch seem within the allegorical configurations of nineteenth-century American novels, poetry, cartoons, and political rhetoric. as a result visibility of war's attacks at the male physique, masculine vulnerability turned this kind of dominant aspect of nationwide lifestyles that it virtually obliterated the visibility of different susceptible our bodies. The simultaneous creation of images and the Civil struggle within the 19th century could be as influential because the conjoined upward thrust of the radical and the center classification within the eighteenth century. either advents bring in a replaced figuring out of the way a transformative media can advertise new cultural and nationwide identities. our bodies immobilized as a result of war's practices of hurting and loss of life also are our bodies made static for the camera's gaze. The glance of outrage at the faces of infantrymen photographed which will reveal their wounds emphasizes the hot expertise of battle actually embodied within the impression of recent imploding bullets on susceptible flesh. Such photos mark either the context for and a counterpoint to the "look" of Walt Whitman as he bends over squaddies of their clinic beds. additionally they offer how to interpret the languishing male heroes of novels comparable to August Evans's Macaria (1864), a southern elegy for the sundering of the state. This booklet crucially exhibits how visible iconography impacts the shift in postbellum gendered and racialized identifications of the state.

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It further suggests the scarcely-to-be-named possibility that Columbia herself is the offspring of a miscegenated union, having inherited more than whiteness from the forefathers of whom she reminds Topsey. Presented as without mother or father, Topsey is imagined with white forefathers (and an overseer who will “fix” her, uncomfortably suggesting an assault on her own reproductive future). That, raised by speculators and reproved by a symbolic mother, she should understand herself to be answerable to forefathers seems odd: why should she feel loyalty to men from whom she is not biologically descended and whose legislative determinations concerning her status have left her as property, not person?

63–64). Don Antonio is told, “Never will you look on a human face again” (68), and “You shall not look upon a human face again” (69). Although the bodies of family members are foregrounded in the performance of sacrificial rites, prohibitions against looking at a human face in the border territory between Texas and Mexico connect faces with sight. The loss of sight is further associated with a loss of masculine identity. The novella ends with John’s horror that in so neatly repeating the violence acted out on his own family, he has taken the place of the villain and lost himself.

C. performs the role of a city between two worlds, between two competing models of national identity. ” I want to suggest that the melancholy of race become a melancholy of nation, a national melancholy that performs its grieving in the most occluded ways. The near-invisibility of noncitizens in the borderlands makes ongoing genocide invisible as an element of national expansion. As we have seen here, it can be recapitulated in romance novels by women but seems much rarer in fiction by men. What makes these works by women on westward expansion so extraordinary is their insistence that the West is built through fraud and greed by shallow men about whom women persist in having delusions.

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