<i>Recognition</i> Looking Defeat in the Face

Julia A. Stern

in Mary Chesnut's Civil War Epic

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780226773285
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226773315 | DOI:
Recognition Looking Defeat in the Face

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Mary Boykin Chesnut was nothing if not an observant witness to her times, and this chapter explores through two key episodes her own transformations of status, as the energies of war swept her from Camden to Montgomery to Richmond to Columbia and again toward home in the late spring of 1865. In each instance, Mary Boykin Chesnut went unidentified in her proper persona and was shaken to the core by the misrecognition. Crafted in the 1880s along Homeric lines, but laced with distinctive black humor, these episodes offer a war-spanning summa of Chesnut's struggle for self against a social world disintegrating under her feet.

Keywords: Mary Boykin Chesnut; war; persona; misrecognition; black humor; social disintegration

Chapter.  6139 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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