Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010



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By Sherwood Bonner, introduction by Jane Turner Censer Southern Classics Series, Reprint Edition University of South Carolina Press (Paperback, $14.95, ISBN: 1570031843, 6/1997) Originally published in 1878 after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow recommended it to Harper and Brothers, Like unto Like marks the emergence of a feminist critique of southern society a full generation before Ellen Glasgow and Kate Chopin published their well-known works. The novel follows a romance between a free-spirited, intellectual southerner, Blythe Herndon, and a former abolitionist and Union soldier, Roger Ellis. Blythe initially sees marriage to an outsider as an escape from the strictures of southern society but soon realizes that even Roger will expect a certain deference from his wife. Over the course of the novel she also comes to acknowledge her inability, despite a desire to be free from convention, to accept Roger's egalitarian views on race relations, his notions of free love, and his past affair with a married woman. A coming-of-age story set in the Reconstruction South, Like Unto Like challenges the limitations placed on nineteenth-century women. In addition to warning female readers of the potential dangers of marriage, Bonner depicts the trials of womanhood in the postwar South, recognizes theimportance of race in southern attitudes, and breaks new ground in creating a range of African American characters, some of whom transcend stereotype. Jane Turner Censer's sensitive introduction to this edition of the novel accords Bonner the long-delayed literary recognition she deserves.

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