Jul 7, 2012

The Author of the Civil War

(NYTimes) At the height of the holiday shopping season of 1860, a bookseller in Richmond, Va., placed a telling advertisement in The Daily Dispatch promoting a selection of “Elegant Books for Christmas and New Year’s Presents.” Notably, the list of two dozen “choice books, suitable for Holiday Gifts” included five works by the late Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott in “various beautiful bindings.”
Sir Walter Scott not only dominated gift book lists on the eve of the Civil War but also dominated Southern literary taste throughout the conflict. His highly idealized depiction of the age of chivalry allowed Southern readers and writers to find positive meaning in war’s horrors, hardships and innumerable deaths. And his works inspired countless wartime imitators, who drew upon his romantic conception of combat. Continued

Photo: "Glen Ellen" home of Col. Harry Gilmor C.S.A., was modeled after Sir Walter Scott's house. It was located where Loch Raven Reservoir is today, just north of Baltimore.