For more than twenty years David Brion Davis has been recognized as a leading authority on the moral and ideological responses to slavery in the Western world. From Homicide to Slavery, Davis's first book of collected essays, brings together selections reflecting his wide-ranging interests in colonial history, Afro-American history, the social sciences, and American literature. The essays are interconnected by Davis's central concern with violence, irrationality, and the definition of moral limits during a period when Americans believed they were breaking free from historical constraints and acquiring new powers of self-perfection. Topics range from a socially revealing murder trial in 1843 to debates over capital punishment, movements of counter-subversion, the iconography of race, the cowboy as an American hero, the portrayal of violence in American literature, the historiography of slavery, and the British and American antislavery movements.
David Brion Davis's books on the history of slavery reflect some of the most distinguished and influential thinking on the subject to appear in the past generation. The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, the sequel to Davis's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture and the second volume of a proposed trilogy, is a truly monumental work of historical scholarship that first appeared in 1975 to critical acclaim both academic and literary. This reprint of that important work includes a new preface by the author, in which he situates the book's argument within the historiographic debates of the last two decades.
This bibliography of 20th century literature focuses on slavery and slave-trading from ancient times through the 19th century. It contains over 10,000 entries, with the principal sections organizing works by the political/geographical frameworks of the enslavers.
This study is the first to critically survey the changing and highly controversial historical literature surrounding the American Civil War era, from contemporary interpretations up to the present. The racial question was one of the central causes of the war; there was recognition of the need for America to conform wholly to the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal." The book both analyzes historians' attitudes and assumptions, and suggests that each writer's perspective was partly determined by the dictates of time and place.
Homicide has many social and psychological implications that vary from culture to culture and which change as people accept new ideas concerning guilt, responsibility, and the causes of crime. A study of attitudes toward homicide is therefore a method of examining social values in a specific setting. Homicide in American Fiction, 1798–1860 is the first book to contrast psychological assumptions of imaginative writers with certain social and intellectual currents in an attempt to integrate social attitudes toward such diverse subjects as human evil, moral responsibility, criminal insanity, social causes of crime, dueling, lynching, the "unwritten law" of a husband's revenge, and capital punishment. In addition to works of literary distinction by Cooper, Hawthorne, Irving, and Poe, among others, Davis considers a large body of cheap popular fiction generally ignored in previous studies of the literature of this period. This is an engrossing study of fiction as a reflection of and a commentary on social problems and as an influence shaping general beliefs and opinions.
In a series of 35 original essays, this companion demonstrates the relevance of Melville’s works in the twenty-first century. Presents 35 original essays by scholars from around the world, representing a range of different approaches to Melville Considers Melville in a global context, and looks at the impact of global economies and technologies on the way people read Melville Takes account of the latest and most sophisticated scholarship, including postcolonial and feminist perspectives Locates Melville in his cultural milieu, revising our views of his politics on race, gender and democracy Reveals Melville as a more contemporary writer than his critics have sometimes assumed
Vandal (history and political science, U. de Sherbrooke, Canada) analyzes the statistics of nearly 5,000 homicides over an 18-year period, as well as other sources, to provide a picture of the level of physical violence in Louisiana after the Civil War. Some of the themes addressed include rural versus urban patterns of violence; homicides in a gender perspective; and the black response to white violence. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR