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Scarlett's Sisters: Young Women in the Old South Paperback – February 1, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

It is . . . Jabour's evocative account of the cultural complexities and paradoxes with which young southern women struggled in their becoming that makes Scarlett's Sisters such an important piece of scholarship.--Journal of American Studies



Nicely written, clearly argued, and complemented by good illustrations. . . . An admirable book with a strong argument that invites all historians of the nineteenth century South to rethink the confines of elite white womanhood.--North Carolina Historical Review



Well written, meticulously researched. . . . Fine, refreshing contribution to the literature on gender in the early republic.--Journal of the Early Republic



Well-written, provocative, and thoroughly researched. . . . Complicates the existing historiography and suggests a promising avenue of scholarship with its focus on female youth culture during the antebellum era.--Southern Historian



Scarlett's Sisters provides a wealth of new information on southern women's history, and Jabour successfully provides a better understanding of the transitions that characterized these women's lives.--H-SAWH



Thoughtful and well written. . . . [A] challenge to the popular dismissal of young women as worthy of separate historical study.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society



Jabour knows that the young women were both privileged and subordinate, oppressors and oppressed. . . . This well written and superbly illustrated book is an admirable introduction to their world.--American Historical Review



Numerous quotations from letters and diaries, along with thought-provoking illustrations, provide color, authentic voice and a certain freshness to the book.--Mississippi Quarterly



Excellent. . . . Compellingly written and intriguing. . . . Southern, women's and general historians should read [it].--Journal of Southern History



Anya Jabour makes a compelling case in Scarlett's Sisters that age and generation are as important as class, race, and gender as categories of analysis, and that adolescent girls and young women are particularly situated to shed light on many of the questions southern historians have been debating for decades. . . . This important book should generate discussion. It is highly readable and clear, with many wonderful quotations.--Journal of American History



Extensive research into the personal papers of more than three hundred young women convincingly demonstrates the self-conscious nature of these girls' transformations.--Georgia Historical Quarterly

Review

Anya Jabour's extended and original portrait of the culture of elite girlhood in the antebellum South deftly weaves a narrative argument that addresses the distinctively regional nature of southern female adolescence and, more particularly, the distinctive nature of southern girls' resistance to narrow definitions of southern womanhood. Jabour's research is exhaustive, her argument convincing, and her writing crisp and engaging.--Terri L. Snyder, California State University, Fullerton



In her study of women, gender, and class in the Old South, Anya Jabour adds the important dimension of age and the life cycle to our grasp of southern social life. She lets us see young, elite women as living in a social realm that was distinct and yet oriented toward the future. Freshly written and meticulously researched, this book is full of women whose voices are clear and arresting.--Steven M. Stowe, Indiana University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807859605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807859605
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,285,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I agree with the reviewer who felt that the book needs an index, and I would have been happier if the footnotes were linked so one could check them while reading, often a pleasure in a Kindle format book. However, if the book had been indexed I might have picked out the Wirt references and never have just sat down and read the whole of it. That would have been my loss. This is a surprisingly readable thesis abut the resistance upper class young white women expressed to fitting pre civil war norms for their class, told mainly in their own words.

It convinced me of a resistance I would never have suspected, and the degree to which Scarlett's role has been romanticized and has hidden the very real fear that young women had that they would be subsumed once married - which of course they were. It serves to explain why several of my southern ancestors refused their eventual husbands several times before agreeing to marry.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This tome displays a one-sided argument that gets tiresome; it's not very well-researched. As with most things in historical writings, the author takes a lot of liberty to construe a new spin on history. It's how historians make themselves feel relevant. I have an MA in history with a concentration on the 19th century and women's studies, so I'm not blind to the realities of historical writings.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very interesting! I like how Ms. Jabour covers each stage of a young southern girl's life in detail.
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Format: Paperback
Anya Jabour's Scarlet's Sisters is a monographic corrective to popular conceptions of Southern womanhood; it subverts "Americans' ideas about the South[,] particularly about Southern women" that continue to be shaped by Gone with the Wind (1). Adding to the "classic triumvirate of race, class, and gender", Jabour uses age as her unit of analysis in exploring the history of young white women in the antebellum South (2). Divided into eight parts, Scarlet's Sisters tracks the collective experience of over three-hundred women as they pass through shared cultural experiences of maturation and coming-of-age; adolescence, schooling, single life, courtship, engagement, marriage and motherhood are discussed in a chronological order which illuminates women's identities in flux.
Carving out a separate Southern identity from the oft-covered Victorian era, Jabour's "sensitivity to regional variations" gives southern women agency (3). Forms of resistance to the demands of Southern patriarchy were not generated by the influence of a didactic, urban-based feminism from the contemporaneous American North. Instead, Jabour asserts it is Southern women themselves who developed unique forms of resistance based on Southern cultural paradigms. Young women in the nineteenth-century South created communities in exclusively female spaces; academies, church groups, and sustained virtual communities in letter writing all served to give women a safe space to explore identities. Complicating the construction of belles as "giddy girls, fickle flirts, and husband-seeking hussies", Jabour introduces us to a world of young women who "prioritized intellectual development" in a community of their own (2, 126). "I describe...
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