Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War

Patriotic Gore Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War Critical biographical portraits of such notable figures as Harriet Beecher Stowe Abraham Lincoln Ulysses S Grant Ambrose Bierce Mary Chesnut William Tecumseh Sherman and Oliver Wendell Holmes pr

  • Title: Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War
  • Author: Edmund Wilson Malcolm Bradbury
  • ISBN: 9780701207083
  • Page: 208
  • Format: Paperback
  • Critical biographical portraits of such notable figures as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant, Ambrose Bierce, Mary Chesnut, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Oliver Wendell Holmes prove Wilson to be the consummate witness to the most eloquently recorded era in American history.

    One thought on “Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War”

    1. Patriotic Gore (1962) is the big book of Wilson’s final decade and in the dust jacket photo he looks just the toothless, growling old cuss one meets in “The Critic in Winter,” Updike’s worthwhile review of the late journals. Wilson spent his last summers in a decaying corner of Upstate New York, alone in the stately pile his wife refused to live in for more than a week at a time. The windows of the place were an anthology of friends’ verse, Wilson having got Auden and Nabokov and other [...]

    2. impossibly bulky and ultra-erudite.I came into this because I wanted to get more of Edmund Wilson, not so much for the thirst of knowledge about the Civil War.I learned a lot. The Battle Hymn of The Republic was written as a sort of response to a set of Calvinist fever-dreams, Wilson's comparison of Lincoln with Lenin and Bismark (!), Stonewall Jackson's vacant inhumanity, Sidney Lanier's verse and Ambrose Bierce's morbid musings. The portrait of Oliver Wendell Holmes is brillaintly done, as is [...]

    3. I'd go as far as to call this an essential read. Wilson is an incredible historian and this is a masterful work of scholarship. Wilson is able to get at the very essence of everyone he turns his magnifying glass on, and these individuals come alive before your eyes in a way that I barely knew was possible. But if that wasn't enough, what Wilson is really aiming at here is to pull back the veil of mythology surrounding the civil war, separating the war in fact from the war in retrospect. It's an [...]

    4. A highly entertaining set of studies in "the literature of the American Civil War" -- that is, literature concerning slavery, literature produced during the war, and literature reflecting on the war afterward. Wilson sketches vivid portraits of both major figures like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ulysses S. Grant, and William T. Sherman, and minor figures like Mary Chestnut, George Fitzhugh, and Albion Winegar Tourgée -- about thirty writers in all. (Not surprisingly, the northerners are generally be [...]

    5. This is a monster big book and a lot of it reads like a buffet.Edmund Wilson throws in so much stuff and you don't always know where the stuff is going or whether it had any purpose in the book. I was especially disappointed with the early pages dealing with Harriet Beecher Stowe. Wilson seemed to have a lot of information and a lot of opinions but he didn't seem to know how to tie it together or relate it to the Civil War, the patriotic gore he supposedly was writing about.Ditto with the sectio [...]

    6. weird trim size makes it hard to keep book open. this is kind of a serious problem, when you are trying to read an 814 pg booklike 1/8 of this book is absolutely like a radio message from God, the other 7/8ths are mostly excerpts from Mary Chestnut's letters. Still, if you think about the Civil War a lot, this is crucial.

    7. This is a book whose potential greatness is undermined by a fatal omission. Wilson does not include any discussion of a collection of writings which is essential to any consideration of the period, particularly when one is viewing it through its literature: slave narratives. Not only does he not discuss them at the same length he allots to military memoirs, which I would consider the minimum amount of attention they require in this book, he does not so much as mention them, not even provide a hi [...]

    8. Edmund Wilson strips the Civil War of all romance but also of all political purpose in this collection of essays on the American Civil War. He begins with an account of two voracious sea slugs happening upon one another on the ocean bottom. They both try to ingest the other. Eventually, the larger of the two succeeds. Wilson equates international politics to the battle of the sea slugs. The only important question is who eats who. The high flown rationales for war he finds to be just so much can [...]

    9. Edmund Wilson’s “Patriotic Gore: A Study…” is an epic masterpiece of literary criticism that does not always cover, for the majority of its 800-plus pages, what is commonly considered literature. As Wilson notes in his introduction, “The period of the American Civil War was not one in which belles letters flourished…but it did produce a remarkable literature [of other kinds].” Wilson’s study explores a range of media: poems and novels are present, but also memoirs, political trac [...]

    10. In 1962, when the book was published, one of the greatest literary critics of the era wrote a thick book about Civil War literature that doesn't include a single reference to writing by African American authors. Not only no Solomon Northup, but also no Frederick Douglassa historical lack of vision about "Civil War literature" that makes this book interesting reading on a whole other level.The first essay is about Harriet Beecher Stowe; I read with interest that Uncle Tom's Cabin was out of print [...]

    11. After finishing Goodwin's Team of Rivals, I discovered Wilson's critical analyses of Civil War literature. With the exception of Uncle Tom's Cabin (which I have never successfully completed) I rediscovered many old friends. In fact, I am now re-reading the works of Stephen Crane. One thing I have learned is that the Southern concept of states rights has changed little since the Civil War. I also learned that Henry James may have been a draft dodger! This book is well worth the time--and it will [...]

    12. The only thing I didn't like about this book is the way it downplays slavery as the primary cause of the civil war. I think this reflects the scholarly consensus of the period (Marxist: everything in history driven by economics). The only problem with this economic theory of the civil war is that it is completely wrong! Surely the Civil War would not have been fought to such a bloody near-stalemate were it not for the deeply polarizing issue of slavery.

    13. I don't often read books of literary essays anymore, but Wilson was a very fine critic and he brings to light some interesting writers of the Civil War era I hadn't come across before. He also reminds me that Reconstruction was a failed experiment that the Americans should have learned from before they dismantled the Iraqi state. How hard it is to impose democratic institutions where none had been before.

    14. Although written by one residing in and from the northern part of America, this was enthralling and a must for anyone interested in the south before, during and after the "civil war". I love history of the different sort and this one met my mood. Thank-you mister edmund!

    15. Really helpful context broadener at a time when scholars and writers seem determined to propagate simplistic myths about the motivations and thinking of northern and southern leaders rather than deal with the messy history of this conflict.

    16. So many leads on future reads, e.g. Olmsted, Tourgee, and GW Cable. But: not a single African-American writer. ?????

    17. This is a superb book. I learned much from it. I rarely give a rating of five stars, but Wilson certainly earned it.

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