Glory, Glory: Hollywood's Consensus Memory of the American Civil War

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    A recycling of motifs - narrative, visual and musical - can be found in the Hollywood historical film which contributes to what Alison Landberg calls a ‘prosthetic memory,’ the memory of an historical event that has been accrued through the consumption of mass media texts. This manufacturing of memory for those who did not witness the historical event is found no more evidently than in the American Civil War film. Motifs and narrative conventions in these films come to stand in as tangible manifestations of memory of this significant event. Over the course of more than a century of filmmaking, a consensus memory of the Civil War has emerged comprising of sectional iconography, narrative clichés, heroic deeds and accepted mythologies about the war’s causes. This chapter argues that this consensus memory operates as an ideological project working to educate American viewers as to their ‘natural,’ national identity. It argues that one key film, The Beguiled (Don Siegel, 1971), works to disrupt the consensus memory of the Civil War by presenting fully rounded, primary players in the war narrative who own entirely Un-American values and behaviours.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReconfiguring the Union: Civil War Transformations
    EditorsIwan W. Morgan, Philip J. Davies
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Pages201-219
    Number of pages244
    ISBN (Print)9781137336477
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

    Publication series

    NameStudies of the Americas

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  • Cite this

    Barrett, J. (2013). Glory, Glory: Hollywood's Consensus Memory of the American Civil War. In I. W. Morgan, & P. J. Davies (Eds.), Reconfiguring the Union: Civil War Transformations (pp. 201-219). (Studies of the Americas). Palgrave Macmillan.