27 March 2008

I just finished reading Christopher Lawton's The Pilgrim's Progress - Thomas J. Jackson's Journey Toward Citizenship in the current issue of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Though Mr. Lawton obviously put a lot of thought and effort into the piece, the article actually reveals more about current faddish trends in historiography than it does about Jackson. Reading terms like "acting-out" and "psycho-social" when referring to Jackson tends to make me sigh, not to mention this excerpt from the abstract:

“In this article the author argues that applying the methodologies of gender and cultural studies to the prewar life of Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson provides a new and exceptionally fruitful path of enquiry into the biography of one of the Confederacy's most iconic heroes. Conversely, approaching these modern fields of study by way of such a prominent figure allows for an enriched version of what masculinity studies can do.” (Emphasis mine.)

Oh, brother.

I don't have time right now to post all of my thoughts regarding this piece, but I will next week. In addition to commenting on the trendy, faddish aspect of the piece, I'll also comment on several misconceptions the article puts forth about Jackson as well as the author's main thesis.

P.S: In an unrelated matter, I just received my new membership card from the Civil War Preservation Trust and will use that as a reminder to encourage readers to consider joining this worthy organization.

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