on her historical claim. If the war presented such radical possibilities for young proto-feminists, how can one reconcile the raw optimism of Jabour's rebel ladies with the restrictive re-feminization of Victorian girlhood? By leaving the postbellum years unexamined, Jabour's hypothesis of young women's penchant for progressivism remains untested. Thus, while Scarlett's Sisters succeeds in painting a captivating portrait of the subtle resistance of southern girls to gendered expectations before the war, Jabour's analysis of the Civil War is a precarious addendum to an otherwise compelling narrative of continuity. Anya Jabour shines most in her gift for listening. This is not a book in which theory swamps narrative or analysis silences sources. Rather, by following the thread of events that the girls themselves defined as life-changing, Jabour allows her characters to narrate their own entrancing tales. For southerners above all (as we southerners like to argue), womanhood has been a historically contested battleground upon which meanings of race, gender, and class have been imposed and derived. Jabour makes the claim that women, far from being mere recipients of culture, actively sculpted southern society. This claim is hardly revolutionary in the context of a contemporary academy so eager to substitute
Southern Cultures – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Feb 21, 2009
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