Macaria, Or, Altars of Sacrifice

Augusta J. Evans, Author Louisiana State University Press $55 (415p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1661-6
A bestseller in the South during the Civil War, this tale focuses on a pair of strong-minded heroines who grapple with questions of individual morality and, when war breaks out, contribute to the fight against the ``Cain-cursed race of New England.'' Irene Huntington, a pampered heiress, and Electra Grey, a poor orphan, both love Electra's cousin Russell Aubrey. Russell returns Irene's love, but honor, duty and old enmities compel all three to keep their affections a dark secret. Each also shuns marriage: Irene won't be bullied by her father into accepting an arranged match; Russell proposes to no one; and Electra, endowed with a ``passionate nature,'' sneers at the ``maudlin sentiments of propriety'' voiced by her suitor. A product of its time, the novel is, as Faust ( The Creation of Confederate Nationalism ) notes, especially interesting for political statements, such as opposition to universal suffrage, and the ``discordant'' way in which it advocates self-determination for women (within unselfish, God-fearing guidelines)--while coolly assuming the inferiority of ``negro labor.'' (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-1-275-65104-3
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-172-56380-7
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