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Albion W. Tourgée

(1838—1905)


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(1838–1905),

born in Ohio, was for two years a student at the University of Rochester, but left to become a Union officer in the Civil War, in which he was seriously wounded. In 1865 he moved his family to North Carolina, where he practiced law and entered politics as a carpetbagger. His venomous political stand and obviously biased attitude as a judge made him unpopular with his fellow citizens, but he became wealthy through corrupt administration of the courts. He founded and edited journals primarily devoted to a radical Reconstruction policy, and wrote several novels setting forth his political beliefs and depicting the South during Reconstruction. After 1878 he made his home in New York, and his only political affiliation was an appointment as consul at Bordeaux (1897). His fiction, which is romantic in plot but realistic in its presentation of the contemporary scene, includes 'Tionette (1874), republished as A Royal Gentleman (1881), a story of the antebellum and Civil War South; Figs and Thistles (1879), set in Ohio and the South during the Civil War, and said to be a fictional account of the political career of Garfield, though others claim it to be semi-autobiographical; A Fool's Errand (1879), a story of Reconstruction, definitely based on the author's own life and considered his best work; Bricks Without Straw (1880), concerned with blacks and whites in North Carolina during the turbulent postwar period; John Eax and Mamelon (1882) and Hot Plowshares (1883), also dealing with this period; and Pactolus Prime (1890), set in Washington and telling of a black who brings up his own light-complexioned child as a white. He published and edited The Continent (1882–84), a weekly literary magazine that serialized his own work and was flavored by his strong Republican attitude, defense of the blacks, and antipathy to the Ku Klux Klan.

Subjects: Literature.


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Works by Albion W. Tourgée

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