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Racial WorldmakingThe Power of Popular Fiction$
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Mark C. Jerng

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823277759

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823277759.001.0001

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Romance and Racism after the Civil War

Romance and Racism after the Civil War

(p.71) Chapter 3: Romance and Racism after the Civil War
Racial Worldmaking

Mark C. Jerng

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the rebirth of the plantation romance from the 1900s through to the 1940s, discussing two key popular fictions: Thomas Dixon’s The Leopard’s Spots and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. It contextualizes the plantation romance as a genre that speculates on the past and on historiography itself. Such popular fictions re-tell the story of Reconstruction, not just to do a historical critique of it as misguided or as a failure, but to produce perceptual strategies that renew racisms along different lines. It shows how Gone With The Wind transforms racial perception from one based on status and character to one based on creating racial contexts.

Keywords:   Civil War, Gone With The Wind, Mitchell, Margaret, Plantation Romance, Racial perception, Reconstruction, The Leopard’s Spots, Thomas Dixon

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