Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

English, MA

Committee Chair

Kain, Richard M.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Ekstrom, William F.

Committee Member

Burton, Mary E.


De Forest, John William, 1826-1906. Miss Ravenel's conversion from secession to loyalty


During the last half of the nineteenth century, novels, short stories, articles and poems written by John William De Forest appeared in the pages of such popular magazines as Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Galaxy, along with literary contributions from Mark Twain, Whittier, Longfellow. Henry James. and William Dean Howells. De Forest, however, has been forgotten by both the reading public and the literary historians since that time, while the literary reputations of the other men have increased; yet it is to this obscure writer that modern critics such as Carl Van Doren, Alexander Cowie, Arthur Quinn. and Van Wyck Brooks have turned in attempting to trace the growth of realism in the American novel. De Forest, born in 1826 and privately educated, travelled widely throughout Europe and the Near East, returning to his native Connecticut to record his experiences in two travel books. Besides these two books he had written prior to the Civil War two novels and a history of the Indians of his state. Unlike the other writers of this period, De Forest took an active part in the war. serving as a captain in the Union army for three years and an officer of the Freedmen's Bureau in South Carolina for three more. He recorded his military experiences and impressions in the letters which he wrote to his wife and to other members of his family with the intention of collecting these letters and papers later and publishing them. He also found time to write articles describing his experiences which were published in the various literary magazines of the day.