A Romance of the Republic, published in 1867, was Lydia Maria Child's fourth novel and the capstone of her remarkable literary career. Written shortly after the Civil War, it offered a progressive alternative toUncle Tom's Cabin. Writer, magazine publisher and outspoken abolititionist, Child defied the norms of gender and class decorum in this novel by promoting interracial marriage as a way blacks and whites could come to view each other with sympathy and understanding. In constructing the tale of fair-skinned Rosa and Flora Royal -- daughters of a slaveowner whose mother was also the daughter of a slaveowner -- Child consciously attempted to counter two popular claims: that racial intermarriage was "unnatural" and that slavery was a benevolent institution. But Child's target was not merely racism. Her characters are forced both to reconsider their attitudes toward "white" and "black" and to question the very foundation of the patriarchal society in which they live.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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