Southern Romanticism and Cold Realities
I am currently enrolled in a U.S. history course, and it is fascinating to revisit a subject I foolishly yawned through as a boy. For history to hold my boyhood interest, absolute monarchs needed to decapitate other monarchs, and Holy Fathers needed to commission great art and vanquish heathens .U.S. history bored me to tears with its Puritan roots and quest for democracy, liberty, and freedom.
Fortunately I am not that silly boy .
We are now tackling the Kingdom of Cotton and it’s legacy. Having spent much time in the American South, Virginia in particular, I am familiar with richness of it’s land and the beauty of it’s architecture. The enclosed imagery is from the controversial exhibit “Back of the Big House” Library of Congress, 1995.
The photographs, mostly taken in the 30’s are beautiful, romantic, and haunting.
This barn is a stunner, I love the dressed stone Doric columns, the classical bays, the modestly grand clock tower. Perfection.
Charm, modesty, sweetness.
Seemingly out of Downing’s pattern book “The Architecture of Country Houses”. It modestly expresses the American agrarian ideal.
Even today, this is familiar landscape.
This is familiar land, the fields, the structures, happy memories.
Chatham County, Georgia
Hauntingly romantic, such sad little houses.
It seems a happy place, the bell, the tidy yard, one hopes the Sabbath offered some relief from misery.
The cold hard reality.
photographed ca 1938
This handsome, dignified woman is a chilling reminder of what I love about the South was at her expense.
When does beauty become sinister?