At the turn of the twentieth century, a group of Kentucky authors composed a collection of historical romances reflecting on their state’s history – before, during, and after the Civil War. These writers included James Lane Allen, John Fox Jr., Alice Hegan Rice, and Annie Fellows Johnston. Many of the stories of these four authors became bestsellers, both in Kentucky and nationally. This study aims to better understand the mythologized memory of the war which both influenced these authors and was further disseminated by their stories. To do so, it analyzes their treatment of reconciliation, monumental memory, the past presence of slavery, and U.S. expansionism. In particular, it looks at how race, gender, and class operate in these memories. By celebrating a masculine, white, elitist memory of Kentucky history, these authors obscured the lived experiences of a large majority of Kentuckians alive before, during, and after the Civil War. This study looks at how these stories processed the past, confronted the present, and hoped to define the future. It explores the cultural context which they reflect, while also considering the role they had on shaping both regional and national social identity.
Kowall, Jacob D., "Collective Memory of the American Civil War in Kentucky Historical Romances, 1890-1915" (2017). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 7634.
American Literature | United States History
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2017 Jacob D. Kowall