Stephen Cushman Will Discuss "Bloody Promenade: Reflections
On A Civil War Battle" At U.Va. Bookstore Sept. 30
Sept. 20, 1999 -- Histories, films, novels
and reenactments all try to tell or show us what happened. But how
can we fully comprehend the elusive and many-sided meanings of the
Civil War in American life?
Cushman, a professor of American literature at the University of
Virginia, widely published poet and distinguished teacher who has
been obsessed with the wars complexity for much of his life,
will read from and discuss his new book, "Bloody Promenade:
Reflections on a Civil War Battle" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept.
30, at the U.Va. Bookstore. (Parking is available in the Central
Grounds Garage, underneath the Bookstore.)
"Bloody Promenade," published this month by the University
Press of Virginia, Cushman examines a single famous battle, The
Wilderness, as if through the many angles of a prism to try to understand
the Civil War and its larger meanings today.
doing so, he looks at how others have seen this horrific Virginia
battle and gives a sweeping account that pulls in eyewitnesses,
contemporary newspapers and magazines, memoirs by participants,
studies by historians, and the views of fiction-writers, poets and
even todays reenactors.
lives 50 miles south of the battlefield, where, on May 5 and 6,
1864, the Union and Confederate armies under Grant and Lee met near
an unfinished railroad in central Virginia. The name of the battle
suggests the horror of combat at close quarters and an inability
to see the whole field of engagement, even at a distance. The battle
is remembered for its brutality and ultimate futility, with 26,000
casualties on both sides.
personal narrative is not another history of the battle. "If
this book is a history of anything," he writes, "its
the history of verbal and visual images of a single particularly
awful moment in the American Civil War."
in an informal first-person style, he traces his own fascination
with the war to a single book, a pictorial history he read as a
boy. He shows how the war has had a continuing grip on Americans,
in novels from "The Red Badge of Courage" to the recent
"Cold Mountain," and in films, songs, poems and paintings.
maps and brief discussion of the battle for those not familiar with
it, "Bloody Promenade" is a unique combination of memoir
and cultural criticism that makes it difficult to look at the Civil
War in the same way again.
review copies of "Bloody Promenade" please contact Mary
Kathryn Hassett at the University Press at (804) 924-6064.
Mary Kathryn Hassett, (804) 924-6064 or Bob Brickhouse (804) 924-6856