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By Shirley Samuels

Facing the USA: Iconography and the Civil War investigates and explains the altering face of the US in the course of the Civil battle. To conjure a face for the country, writer Shirley Samuels additionally explores the physique of the state imagined either bodily and metaphorically, arguing that the Civil battle marks a dramatic shift from picking the yankee country as female to deciding on it as masculine. Expressions of this type of swap look within the allegorical configurations of nineteenth-century American novels, poetry, cartoons, and political rhetoric. as a result of visibility of war's attacks at the male physique, masculine vulnerability grew to become the sort of dominant aspect of nationwide lifestyles that it essentially obliterated the visibility of alternative weak our bodies. The simultaneous creation of images and the Civil warfare within the 19th century might be as influential because the conjoined upward thrust of the unconventional and the center type within the eighteenth century. either advents usher in a replaced knowing of ways a transformative media can advertise new cultural and nationwide identities. our bodies immobilized as a result of war's practices of hurting and demise also are our bodies made static for the camera's gaze. The glance of concern at the faces of infantrymen photographed that allows you to reveal their wounds emphasizes the recent know-how of warfare actually embodied within the influence of recent imploding bullets on susceptible flesh. Such pictures mark either the context for and a counterpoint to the "look" of Walt Whitman as he bends over squaddies of their clinic beds. in addition they supply the way to interpret the languishing male heroes of novels akin to August Evans's Macaria (1864), a southern elegy for the sundering of the country. This booklet crucially indicates how visible iconography impacts the shift in postbellum gendered and racialized identifications of the country.

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Most frighteningly in Bird, as in the above passage, the wilderness enforces a transfiguration of human, savage, and animal constructs with an essential mockery of Christianity in the form of crosses being carved on bodies even as scalps are torn from heads. The trophy scalps of “Bloody” Nathan’s family have become the form of family embodiment the wilderness allows. And the children who appear in both novels are greatly at risk. Sometimes the risk is humorous— a matron in Kirkland’s novel is asked for the loan of her baby to assist in clearing a clogged milk duct.

2 M I S C E G E N AT E D A M E R I C A MONSTROUS BIRTH This chapter enacts the stresses of what it tries to explicate: competing identities for the American nation between the revolution and the Civil War. Such competitions draw on racial and sexual embodiments even when the text or institution under discussion—such as the Declaration of Independence or the Bank of the United States—appears to be removed from race or sex or body. ”1 Haunted by Twain’s image, I want to trace the competing identities within the composite body of America as it moves toward an uncertain gestation.

The twenty-one-year-old John loves his sixteen-year-old brother “even as David loved Jonathan, with a love passing the love of women” (16). Disturbing such near-incestuous fraternal love is the villain of the piece, Don Antonio Marin. 35 Don Antonio offers to spare her father’s life if Isabel will assent to sexual relations. Horrified, ’Bel consents, yet she wakes from a sexualized swoon to find her father dead and her brothers arriving too late to avert tragedy. Don Antonio rides off with Santa Ana and collaborates in condemning her sweet sixteen-year-old brother David to death by firing squad.

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