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Calypso MagnoliaThe Crosscurrents of Caribbean and Southern Literature$
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John Wharton Lowe

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469628882

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628882.001.0001

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Constance Fenimore Woolson and Lafcadio Hearn

Constance Fenimore Woolson and Lafcadio Hearn

Extending the Boundaries of the Transnational South

(p.145) 4 Constance Fenimore Woolson and Lafcadio Hearn
Calypso Magnolia

John Wharton Lowe

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter takes up the important role travel writing played in presentations of the circumCaribbean, both in standard accounts and in fictions that explore tropical regions. Two writers not usually considered Southern, Constance Fenimore Woolson and Lafcadio Hearn receive extended analysis and comparison. Woolson’s travel writings, it is revealed, fed her fictions, particularly her Florida short stories and novels, all of which delineate myriad links between the South and the Caribbean, especially in terms of her Latino, Native American, and Afro-Caribbean characters. Hearn, by contrast, began by writing extensively about New Orleans culture, which then became the filter for his subsequent investigation and fictionalization of the Caribbean. The key texts examined are Woolson’s collection set during Reconstruction, Rodman the Keeper, and her novel East Angels; and Hearn’s memoir, Two Years in the French West Indies and his novels Chita and Youma. The concept of the tropical sublime receives a full analysis here, as both writers employ it extensively. Issues of sexuality, landscape depiction, and multi-ethnic portraiture play a key role in the discussion.

Keywords:   Florida history, Martinique, tropical sublime, Reconstruction, Racial categories

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