Monday, May 11, 2009

Creating the John Brown Legend: Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, Child and Higginson in Defense of the Raid on Harpers Ferry

by Janet Kemper Beck

From the publisher:
One of the triggering events of the Civil War helped divide a nation but also launched a cannonade of persuasive essays and propaganda. Early press reaction to John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry ranged from indignant horror in the South to stunned disbelief in the North. Brown's supporters wielded great power with their pens: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and Lydia Maria Child. This book explores the moment when literature and history collided and literature rewrote history. This volume features 30 photographs, maps, proclamations and broadsides and a detailed timeline of events surrounding the raid.

Janet Kemper Beck teaches English at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and is a member of the Thoreau Society and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society.