Fictions of U.S. History: A Theory and Four Illustrations by Frances Richardson Keller

By Frances Richardson Keller

Fictions of historical past deals a brand new definition of the time period "fictions." A fiction isn't really in simple terms the ingenious literature we treasure in works of novelists, dramatists, and poets. it's a robust, riding concept that enters the lifetime of a person, the path a complete society travels, and the tales historians inform in regards to the human earlier. in lots of dimensions, fictions impact everybody on planet Earth. all of us stay lives in response to fictions.Frances Richardson Keller chooses interesting examples to illustrate how dominant fictions of a given time emerge and are entrenched, and how old figures have come to just accept or reject those fictions. She starts with "the grandest fiction," the patriarchal process, and displays on its origins, results, and destiny. Then she addresses the fictions that ruled tales historians advised concerning the Reconstruction of the US after the Civil warfare. Keller subsequent considers the emergence and death of Mormon polygamy as a fiction within the nineteenth century. Her fourth and final representation is the lifetime of Eleanor Roosevelt and the fictions that empowered her.

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5 In no area could ready-made customs have proved hardier than in this area of relations between the sexes. Yet even here, time and technologies have wrought changes fundamental to our everyday lives. In the last two centuries they have exposed portentous fault lines. But let us first explore the origins of the most pervasive system of social organization on earth. . Fragments of information about gender arrangements from times before people could write and before cultivation drifted into view.

Xenophon depicted women who had opportunities to make decisions: “Panthea, the beautiful woman of Susa, Theodote, the lively lady who spars with Socrates, and the young wife of Ischomachus who is establishing a household”—a princess, an intellectual, and the wife of a well-to-do landowner. Xenophon saw these women as equals to men; he did not see them as inferior or superior. ”16 Again, it appears that in some early Native American nations women wielded powers of state seldom realized. A few such arrangements have survived long enough for us to look at them.

We shall see in Chapter 3 how historians act as agents and how histories rise from values the historian determines. S. . —almost to the present moment—dominance of one sex over the other passed through ancestral lines that increasingly supported male supremacy in every aspect of human activity. . But other models did appear; we know that different gender fictions influenced the character of early societies and that social living was always dynamic, never static; that some arrangements lingered, some dwindled, some vanished.

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