"In this shrewd and refreshing collection, Robin L. Cadwallader and Sharon M. Harris introduce readers to some of the most important short stories by one of the most prolific and respected writers of the nineteenth century. They resituate Davis in literary history and invite us to read her work from a new perspective."
—Lisa A. Long, editor of White Scholars / African American Texts
"Rebecca Harding Davis's stories illuminate the ambiguities of Civil War America—the disjuncture between the political rhetoric of war and daily life on the homefront, the reversals of emancipation in a world where Confederate masters have become prisoners, and the grinding injuries of poverty during and after the war. Above all, they show the complexities of wars waged by women, sometimes in relation to armed engagements but more often in struggles for self-definition. The ten stories in this anthology provide fresh perspectives on the wartime era and, in so doing, make an important contribution to our understanding of Davis, nineteenth-century women's writing, and the literature of the Civil War."
"Any criticism of Rebecca Harding Davis's Stories of the Civil War Era is minor compared to the value of the anthology for a range of disciplines, including literary studies, Civil War history, Southwestern border studies, cultural anthropology, women's studies, and gender studies. Besides its thematic importance, the collection also clearly illustrates Davis's literary talents, which stand out in comparison to many other writers of her generation."
—Kevin A. Brown, H-Net Reviews
Davis spent the war years in the Pennsylvania and Virginia borderlands, a region she called a “vast armed camp.” Here, divided families, ravaged communities, and shifting loyalties were the norm. As the editors say, “Davis does not limit herself to writing about slavery, abolition, or reconstruction. Instead, she shows us that through the fighting, the rebuilding, and the politics, life goes on. Even during a war, people must live: they work, eat, sleep, and love.”
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