Those American R’s. Rule, Ruin, Restoration. [Inscribed Copy]
A new altered South…
Presentation copy of this curious Reconstruction novel. The story appears to be set in fictional Georgia or North Carolina, near an early Moravian settlement. The novel, which has a political bent, opens just before the American Civil War when “...them blasted fellers that are tryin’ to ruin the country by either drivin us out of the Union or stealin’ our niggers, got the upper hand up North and fixed things for Abe Lincoln’s election.” (p)
African-American or related themes in the book include the emancipation of slaves in the Confederacy and “the Ku Klux [Klan] and supposed Ku Klux outrages.” Discussions of politics permeates the novel—Radicals (Republicans) and Democrats—and the clash of the old South and the new South. Beginning on page 292 there are a pair of two-column printings of a “Democratic Party Platform” and a “Republican Party Platform” with their official platforms on the left and their “real” platforms on the left.
While not an “alternative historical” novel of Reconstruction, names and places have been changed to present a tale of a new altered South. Of the next generation of Southerners, the author writes: “[i]n their veins courses the blood of North and South, which, united in their persons, made them the worthy children of the New Republic. ”(p335)
Authorship of the book has been attributed to Charles Oscar Beasley who writes here as “One Who Has Been R’d,” presumably one who has been ruled, ruined, and restored. Of Beasley, we know little other than he was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where, in the Department of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy he co-wrote a Junior Prize-winning essay on “Pessimism.”¹
Scarce to commerce.
Description: Those American R’s. Rule, Ruin, Restoration. [Inscribed Copy]
Philadelphia: Edward E. Wensley & Co., 1882. Frontis., v, , –335pp. First Edition. Inscribed, Signed and Dated in the year of publication by the author. Terra cotta cloth blocked in blind and gilt. Foxing and spotting to fore-edge; trifle wear to boards and heel of spine; a very good copy.
Wright III:432. Note. 1. The Penn Monthly, July 1882, (Philadelphia), p58.
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