So Red the Rose

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Young, Stark. So Red the Rose. New York: Scribner's, 1934. In print: J.S. Sanders, 2002.

In 1860, the comfortable planter society of Natchez, Mississippi is riding for a fall. A large cast of characters, including the McGehees, Bedfords, and other key Natchez families, is swept into the Civil War and some of them survive it.

Gone with the Wind was often compared to this novel in the 1930s, and has largely displaced it as the archetypal plantation novel of the Civil War, but for a few years So Red the Rose was pre-eminent as a picture of the vanished life of the South. Like Gone with the Wind it stresses the frontier culture of the plantations, rather than any effete grandeur. So Red the Rose, however, is more sociological and less melodramatic, more concerned with painting a vast picture of a culture at war. Young's novel lacks central dramatic heroes and heroines, a factor that has perhaps contributed to its eclipse.


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