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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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Tourism, Imperialism, and Hybridity in the Reconstruction South

Tourism, Imperialism, and Hybridity in the Reconstruction South

Woolson’s Rodman the Keeper: Southern Sketches

(p.56) Tourism, Imperialism, and Hybridity in the Reconstruction South
Witness to Reconstruction

Anne E. Boyd

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter analyzes Woolson’s Rodman the Keeper: Southern Sketches (1880). It attempts not only to excavate binaries in Woolson’s Southern fiction, but also examine what happens to the tensions between them. Ultimately, these tensions are not neatly resolved, as they often were in popular postwar reunion romances. As many postcolonial theorists have noted, sooner or later the encounter between cultures and peoples results not only in clashes but also in a mingling that creates forms of doubleness or hybridity, a term often used today to connote the mixture of cultures, but which has its origins in nineteenth-century conceptions of racial difference. A reading of Woolson’s fiction in this context suggests her discomfort with the effects of imperialism, particularly a form of hybridity predicated on an inequality that blurs cultural and racial distinctions. In the process of registering this discomfort, Woolson also manages to decenter her texts in ways that challenge her Northern readers’ presumed cultural superiority in the wake of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Keywords:   Constance Fenimore Woolson, binaries, Southern fiction, imperialism, inequality

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