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The Civil War Dead and American Modernity - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Civil War Dead and American Modernity

Ian Finseth


Tracing the Civil War dead’s representational afterlife acroᶊ an array of historical, visual, and literary documents from 1861 to 1914, this book shows that they played a central, complex, and paradoxical role in how Americans understood the “modernity” of the United States. Amid the turbulence of the postbellum era, the dead provided an illusion of coherence, intelligibility, and continuity in the national self, and yet they also focalized American society’s central philosophical and moral conflicts. Recirculated through the networks of information and meaning by which a culture understands a ... More

Keywords: American Civil War, death, mortality, modernity, nationalism, history, visual culture, literature, necropolitics, public memory

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190848347
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190848347.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ian Finseth, author
Associate Professor, University of North Texas

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