The Plantation Mistress

The Plantation Mistress

by Catherine Clinton


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This pioneering study of the much-mythologized Southern belle offers the first serious look at the lives of white women and their harsh and restricted place in the slave society before the Civil War. Drawing on the diaries, letters, and memoirs of hundreds of planter wives and daughters, Clinton sets before us in vivid detail the daily life of the plantation mistress and her ambiguous intermediary position in the hierarchy between slave and master.

"The Plantation Mistress challenges and reinterprets a host of issues related to the Old South. The result is a book that forces us to rethink some of our basic assumptions about two peculiar institutions — the slave plantation and the nineteenth-century family. It approaches a familiar subject from a new angle, and as a result, permanently alters our understanding of the Old South and women's place in it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394722535
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/1984
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 596,009
Product dimensions: 5.13(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

CATHERINE CLINTON was born in Seattle and grew up in Kansas City. She is the Denman Professor of American History at the University of Texas San Antonio and is an International Research Professor at Queen's University Belfast. She has served on several faculties in her more than thirty years of teaching, including the University of Benghazi, Harvard University, and the Citadel (the Military College of South Carolina). She is the author and editor of over two dozen volumes, including The Plantation MistressHarriet Tubman:The Road to FreedomMrs. Lincoln: A Life, and edits her own series for Oxford University Press: Viewpoints on American Culture. She has served as a consultant on several film projects, including Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2012). An elected member of the Society of American Historians, she remains a lifetime member of both the Lincoln Forum and the Southern Association for Women Historians. She is serving as the president of the Southern Historical Association (2015-2016).

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Chapter I

Excerpted from "The Plantation Mistress"
by .
Copyright © 1984 Catherine Clinton.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface: Hidden Lives, xi

Chapter I: Women in the Land of Cotton, 3

Chapter II: Slave of Slaves, 16

Chapter III: Circle of Kin, 36

Chapter IV: The Day to Fix my Fate, 59

Chapter V: The Moral Bind, 87

Chapter VI: The Fallen Woman, 110

Chapter VII: Equally Their Due, 123

Chapter VIII: Precious and Precarious in Body and Soul, 139

Chapter IX: Every Woman Was an Island, 164

Chapter X: The Curse of Slavery, 180

Chapter XI: The Sexual Dynamics of Slavery, 199

Chapter XII: Foucault Meets Mandingo, 223

Appendix A, 232

Appendix B, 239

Abbreviations of Archives Referred to in Notes and Bibliography, 243

Notes, 245

Bibliography, 295

Index, 324

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