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"The Conflict is Behind Me Now": Shelby Foote Writes the Civil War

"The Conflict is Behind Me Now": Shelby Foote Writes the Civil War “The Conflict is Behind Me Now”: Shelby Foote Writes the Civil War by Douglas Mitchell Shelby Foote began his address to the Southern Historical As- sociation on “ The Novelist’s View of History” in 1955 by quoting D. H. Lawrence: “Being a novelist, I consider myself superior to the saint, the scientist, the philosopher, and the poet. The novel is the one bright book of life.” With this opening salvo, Foote, already well into the work on the first volume of his narrative of the Civil War at the time, proceeds to es- tablish that the ground of his authority is that of the artist, not the ama- teur historian. In the years since, however, he has in fact gained a histori- cal authority, both with the general public and professional historians. His show-stopping performance in the Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary on PBS created a permanent identification of the slow-talking, weathered Mississippian with the war and history. More important, The Civil War : A Narrative is one of the great non-fiction works of the twentieth century and certainly the work for which Foote will be remembered. But Foote to this day insists that he is a novelist, not http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

"The Conflict is Behind Me Now": Shelby Foote Writes the Civil War

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 36 (1) – Dec 30, 2003

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

“The Conflict is Behind Me Now”: Shelby Foote Writes the Civil War by Douglas Mitchell Shelby Foote began his address to the Southern Historical As- sociation on “ The Novelist’s View of History” in 1955 by quoting D. H. Lawrence: “Being a novelist, I consider myself superior to the saint, the scientist, the philosopher, and the poet. The novel is the one bright book of life.” With this opening salvo, Foote, already well into the work on the first volume of his narrative of the Civil War at the time, proceeds to es- tablish that the ground of his authority is that of the artist, not the ama- teur historian. In the years since, however, he has in fact gained a histori- cal authority, both with the general public and professional historians. His show-stopping performance in the Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary on PBS created a permanent identification of the slow-talking, weathered Mississippian with the war and history. More important, The Civil War : A Narrative is one of the great non-fiction works of the twentieth century and certainly the work for which Foote will be remembered. But Foote to this day insists that he is a novelist, not

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Dec 30, 2003

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