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Title: Down South: 'Southern Races' and Southern Questions in Woolson's Fiction
Authors: Grego, Edoarda
Keywords: Constance Fenimore Woolson in ItalyWoolson on the abolition of slaveryAmerican history in Woolson’s writingsItalian history in Woolson’s writings
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Edoarda Grego, "Down South: 'Southern Races' and Southern Questions in Woolson's Fiction", in: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali, IX (2002), pp. 71-85
Series/Report no.: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali
IX (2002)
Constance Fenimore Woolson was a passionate unionist and abolitionist, even though she wrote very little about the Civil War. She went to live in the South, but facing the grim reality of the post-war destruction, some of her enthusiasm vanished. Woolson was quite critical of the situation the freed blacks found themselves in after the abolition of slavery, and of the general attitude of the Southerners towards their life and towards the Northerners who had swarmed into the South to take advantage of the Reconstruction business. In 1897, dismayed by the failure of the Reconstruction and its consequences, Woolson left America, never to return, and went to Italy, only to find herself in a very similar situation, since Italy was dealing with the aftermath of its unification.
The essay wants to provide a close observation of Woolson’s attitude, in her fiction, towards the ‘Southern races’, both American and Italian; moreover, it wants to tackle the burning issue of the absence of any reference to Italian contemporary history in her Italian short stories, while in "Rodman the Keeper: Southern Sketches" history is always present. Woolson’s interest in the recent epochal events of American history was extensive, but she completely neglected Italian modern history, which was, in many respects, like the contemporary American history, full of dramatic and vital events. Three hypothesis concerning a reason for this absence are suggested and discussed.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1123-2684
Appears in Collections:2002 / 9 Prospero. Rivista di culture anglo-germaniche

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