A Yankee who Understood Southerners.

A Yankee Who Understood Southerners

“Dear me, what’s the good of being a Southerner?” asks one of the characters on the very first page of Henry James’ nineteenth-century novel The Bostonians. Though this question may not be the most important theme of James’ widely-hailed book, the idiosyncrasies and paradoxes of the South serve as a backdrop for the entire story. Indeed, James, a native New Yorker born in 1843, found the South both captivating and exasperating, inspiring and pitiable. Yet in at least a few respects, James was a Yankee who not only understood the Southern character but appreciated that perhaps there were one or two commendable things about Dixie.

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