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Witness to ReconstructionConstance Fenimore Woolson and the Postbellum South, 1873-1894$
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Kathleen Diffley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781617030253

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617030253.001.0001

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date: 19 October 2017

“A Modern and a Model Pioneer”

“A Modern and a Model Pioneer”

Civilizing the Frontier in Woolson’s “A Pink Villa”

Chapter:
(p.284) (p.285) “A Modern and a Model Pioneer”
Source:
Witness to Reconstruction
Author(s):

Annamaria Formichella Elsden

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617030253.003.0017

This chapter presents a reading of Woolson’s short story “Pink Villa” (1888). It raises the following questions: what index to America does Woolson’s story provide? When Horace Bartholomew calls David Rod “a modern and a model pioneer,” casting him as the symbolic repository of his nation’s ideals, how confident should we be in the notion of American “progress”? The chapter explores how other concerns complicate the plot’s romantic resolution and undermines what might too easily seem a defense of American pragmatism and masculine enterprise. It suggests that the feminine values emphasized in the story’s title articulate Woolson’s ambivalence about Eva’s fate in Florida and the masculine project of America.

Keywords:   Constance Fenimore Woolson, American progress, romance, pragmatism, feminine values, masculine project

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