B O OK REVIEWS Gender and Race in Antebellum Popular Culture. By Sarah N. Roth. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. x + 320 pp. $110 cloth/$29.99 paper/$24 e-book. Elizabeth Duquette, Gettysburg College he most important word in the title of Sarah N. Roth's recent book, Gender and Race in Antebellum Popular Culture, is "and." Attempts to understand either gender or race separately misrepresent the antebellum period, Roth argues, particularly the ways that black men were represented in popular culture. If we are "[t]o judge by current historiography," she writes, "it seems that race never entered into the consciousness of white women living beyond the South and played no role in shaping who these women were or how they saw themselves" (6). This, Roth proposes, is surely wrong, and the aim of her study is to demonstrate the fundamental correlation of ideas about race and gender in novels about slavery from the 1820s through the Civil War, stressing the recurrent patterns that emerged and the racist assumptions they sustained. At the core of her argument is the claim that white female authors manipulated representations of enslaved black men to bolster their own position in antebellum culture. Juxtaposing depictions
Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 20, 2017
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