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 United States throughout the Civil warfare. To conjure a face for the state, writer Shirley Samuels additionally explores the physique of the country imagined either bodily and metaphorically, arguing that the Civil conflict marks a dramatic shift from making a choice on the yankee country as female to determining it as masculine. Expressions of this sort of swap look within the allegorical configurations of nineteenth-century American novels, poetry, cartoons, and political rhetoric. a result of visibility of war's attacks at the male physique, masculine vulnerability grew to become this kind of dominant side of nationwide existence that it virtually obliterated the visibility of different weak our bodies. The simultaneous creation of images and the Civil struggle within the 19th century can be as influential because the conjoined upward push of the radical and the center type within the eighteenth century. either advents bring in a replaced knowing of ways a transformative media can advertise new cultural and nationwide identities. our bodies immobilized as a result of war's practices of hurting and demise also are our bodies made static for the camera's gaze. The glance of concern at the faces of infantrymen photographed to be able to reveal their wounds emphasizes the hot expertise of conflict actually embodied within the influence of recent imploding bullets on susceptible flesh. Such photographs mark either the context for and a counterpoint to the "look" of Walt Whitman as he bends over squaddies of their sanatorium beds. additionally they offer how to interpret the languishing male heroes of novels akin to August Evans's Macaria (1864), a southern elegy for the sundering of the state. This ebook crucially indicates how visible iconography impacts the shift in postbellum gendered and racialized identifications of the country.

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In the image reproduced here, another possibility emerges. “The Capture of an Unprotected Female, or the CLOSE of the Rebellion” presents a joke, a pun, on closure, on clothing, and on the act of looking “close” to find genital evidence of sexual identification (Fig. 6). ”24 Positioned together, these images reveal more than they do separately about a cluster of associations among men, battle, and transformation. While contemporary audiences may have assigned them different valences, they nonetheless convey shifts, transitions, occlusions, and substitutions that enable a running man in drag25 to be combined with the anxieties of elimination and animal control.

By Hans Schuler (1942). Photograph by Shirley Samuels. 2. Statue of Sidney Lanier at Johns Hopkins University (detail). The muses, whose linked bodies allude at once to mythology and to the need for female friendship after the Civil War, join hands in a pastoral landscape. Photograph by Shirley Samuels. 21 22 FACING AMERICA of the failed Confederate state as the necessarily grand republican ideal founded on the same classical antecedents that inspired the original founders of the American republic.

Such confusion about whether the spots represent disease or racial identity in effect makes racialized identity, however fabricated, into a form of disease. The novel’s manipulation of racial and sexual desire appears related to the presence of the Mexican War. While the novel viciously satirizes Civil War patriotism and profiteering, it finds in border crossing a retreat into whiteness such that Mexico becomes the place where whiteness can be valorized. One might describe this as an insidious racism in contrast to the overt racism of The Hidden Hand.

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