Literature of the Antebellum South Criticism: The Culture Of The Old South - Essay

Guy A. Cardwell (essay date 1967)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Cardwell, Guy A. “The Duel in the Old South: Crux of a Concept.” South Atlantic Quarterly 66 (1967): 50-69.

[In the following essay, Cardwell presents the subject of dueling as an important element in the “aristocratic” culture of the Old South, one frequently treated by writers of the period.]


The idea of the gentleman assumes the existence of class distinctions and often assumes as well that gentlemen, men superior in courtesy and courage, are privileged to engage in extralegal mutual slaughter according to a code. Dueling seems never to have gone unchallenged, however. In America, where street affrays and Western shoot-outs...

(The entire section is 7671 words.)

Carl N. Degler (essay date 1977)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Degler, Carl N. “The Foundations of Southern Distinctiveness.” The Southern Review 13, no. 2 (April 1977): 225-39.

[In the following essay, Degler outlines the economic and historical sources of Southern cultural distinctiveness, maintaining nonetheless that differences between Northerners and Southerners in the first half of the nineteenth century were a matter of degree, not kind, and that both groups shared an essential worldview.]

Whether one is interested in the early antebellum South or the modern South, the agricultural character of the region is fundamental. If today the South is the most rural region of the nation, in the years before the War for...

(The entire section is 5929 words.)