How Confederate Women Created New Self-Identities as the Civil War Progressed. The Study of Their Diaries

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This study explores the connection between periodic life writing and the formation of ethnic identity, and argues that the practice of keeping a diary enabled Confederate women to actively maintain and build power structures which privileged “white” Southerners.


“By providing careful analysis, thoughtful interpretation, and full context for these diaries, this book pushes forward scholars’ understanding of the diary form and creates a model of how we may understand the rich troves of artifact and text to be unearthed and considered as American self-writing.” – R. Scott LaMascus, Professor of English, Oklahoma Christian University

“[McMichael] provides fascinating insights into the making of the Other in the Civil War South as Southern women defined themselves against Yankee soldiers, African-American slaves, and non-literate whites. [This] book is a welcome addition to the fields of diary studies, ethnic studies, and Civil War history.” – Dr. Brent Gibson, Associate Professor of English, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Table of Contents

Foreword by R. Scott LaMascus
1. Introduction: “I Would Die Without Some Means of Expressing My Feelings”
2. “Free, White, and Twenty-one”: Representations of Self and Slave in the Diaries of Confederate Women
3. “I Can Write and Think Myself Into a Fever About My Brother”: The Convergence of Nationalism and Gender
4. “I Shall Have to Read to Be Comforted”: Intertextual References on Perceptions of Ethnicity
5. “As a Discourager of Self-Conceit There is Nothing Like an Old Diary"
6. Conclusion: “Rivers Deep & Strong Has Been Shed & Where Are We Now?”

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