Book Reviews in the collection. That story ends very happily for the title character. The editors write in their introduction that "legendary tales come with an expectation of a happy ending; thus Ellen's fate becomes a challenge for Davis in a time of war" (xxvi), but they fail to mention the 1865 version published in Atlantic Monthly, in which the happy ending is changed to a tragic one. The collection also leaves out one of Davis's most important Civil War short stories, "The Yares of the Black Mountain" which was published in 1875. The story not only depicts one Unionist family's struggle in an Appalachian community during the war, but also the lasting effect of that loyalty long after the war ended. The problems with this collection should not detract from its primary purpose of introducing readers to Rebecca Harding Davis's exceptional short stories. For a better contextual analysis of her work and its place in both Civil War and Appalachian history, read Kenneth Noe's "`Deadened Color and Colder Horror': Rebecca Harding Davis and the Myth of Union Appalachia," in Confronting Appalachian Stereotypes: Back Talk from an American Region, edited by Dwight B. Billings, Gurney Norman, and Katherine
West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Mar 31, 2011
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