Freer, Lewis (2020) The Lost Cause Narrative in Three Southern Novels Published between 1880 and 1936. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In a period of time where matters of race, Confederate memorials and debates around neo-confederate thinking is increasingly important to politics and the media reporting of all political issues within the US, questions of how these views came to prominence within certain groups in society is increasingly important. This project aims to explore how ideas introduced by Edward Pollard immediately after the Civil War found expression through literary fiction between the end of the war and the 1930’s. It looks at selected writing by Mary Chesnut, Thomas Nelson Page and William Faulkner and through close reading attempts to trace some of the roots of these views. It also explores some aspects of the historical setting of the texts in an attempt to illustrate the constructed nature of the South presented by these writers.

While finding much that fits with Confederate and Neo-Confederate ideas in general and Pollard’s assumptions in particular around the representation of soldiers and the social values of the White elites, this project also presents a number of striking challenges in terms of representations of race and the impact of the end of slavery on the different writers. In combination, these texts are suggested to highlight both the insidious influence of these alternative interpretations of the South and also the wide variation found in the attitudes of different authors even within this narrow geographical and chronological focus.

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