"Epic Poems in Bronze": Confederate Memorialization and the Old South's Reckoning with Modernity in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Scholars of the American South generally end their studies of Confederate memorization just before World War 1. Because of a decline in the number of physical monuments and memorials to the Confederacy dedicated in the years immediately following the war, scholars appear to regard the interwar era as a period separate from the Lost Cause movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, to fully understand the complexity of developing Southern identities in the modern age, it is essential to expand traditional definitions of Confederate memorialization and the time period in which it is studied. This paper explores different mediums of Lost Cause memorialization, including art, literature, and architecture, in Charleston, South Carolina order to assess how nostalgic public memory reflected political trends and cultural development as the city moved into the modern age. In response to the needs and moods of Southern society after the end of the Civil War, Lost Cause memorialization in Charleston took three forms: mourning memorialization, vindication memorialization, and commercialized memorialization. Through a study of these three periods, this paper connects the development of historic preservation and the early tourism industry of the interwar period with earlier examples of physical memorialization in order to assess how Confederate memory transformed in response to modernization in Charleston. Confederate memorialization changed forms just as the city itself did; however, its intent to perpetuate carefully orchestrated mythology venerating a strict social and racial hierarchy never wavered.
Ford-Dirks, Grace, ""Epic Poems in Bronze": Confederate Memorialization and the Old South's Reckoning with Modernity in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" (2021). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1697.
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