The American Civil War’s dramatic effect on American literature will be examined during a special program at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (ALPM) part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, in the state capital, Springfield, Illinois. This Civil War Sesquicentennial presentation in the ALPM’s Union Theater is free and open to the public, but reservations must be made by calling (217) 558-8934. A book signing will follow.
Randall Fuller, author of Battlefields Rising: How The Civil War Transformed American Literature, will be the presenter. Fuller explores the war’s impact on writers including Walt Whitman (1819-1892), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Herman Melville (1819-1891), Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), and Frederick Douglass (1818-1895).
According to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, “Whitman was deeply affected by his years spent ministering to wounded soldiers, and his later works reflected it. Dickinson suffused the anguish of war in poems she wrote from afar. Meanwhile, Hawthorne temporarily ceased writing as he was overwhelmed by reading military reports and talking with soldiers. The Civil War forever changed America’s early idealism, and consequently its literature, into something far different than it had been before the war.”