The Belle Gone Bad: White Southern Women Writers and the Dark Seductress (Southern Literary Studies) by Betina Entzminger
The Belle Gone Bad: White Southern Women Writers and the Dark Seductress (Southern Literary Studies)
Author: Betina Entzminger
Title: The Belle Gone Bad: White Southern Women Writers and the Dark Seductress (Southern Literary Studies)
ISBN10: 080712785X
ISBN13: 978-0807127858
Format: .PDF .EPUB .FB2
Pages:
Publisher: Louisiana State Univ Pr (August 1, 2002)
Language: English
Size pdf: 1275 kb
Size epub: 1417 kb
Rating: 3.9 ✪
Votes: 451
Category: Literature & Fiction
Subcategory: History & Criticism
When Scarlett O'Hara fluttered her dark lashes, did she threaten only the gentlemen in her parlor or the very culture that produced her? Examining the "bad belle" as a recurring character, THE BELLE GONE BAD finds that white southern women writers from the antebellum period to the present have used treacherous belles to subtly indict their culture from within. Combining the southern ideal of ladyhood with the sexual power of the dark seductress, the bad belle is the perfect figure with which to critique a culture that effectively enslaved both its white and black women.

Betina Entzminger traces the development of the bad belle from nineteenth-century domestic novelist E.D.E.N. Southworth to contemporary novelist Kaye Gibbons. Coy and alluring like the traditional southern belle, the bad belle is also manipulative and knowing. By making the patriarch vulnerable to women who outwardly conform to the limiting conventions of womanhood but inwardly break all the rules, these writers challenged a society that stereotyped black women as promiscuous and forced white women onto pedestals while committing heinous acts in their name.

THE BELLE GONE BAD shows that even writers who have been critically dismissed as too domestic or conservative to be innovative did challenge southern institutions and conceptions about race, class, and gender. What united the dangerous belles created by several generations of women writing in the South, old and new, is their liberating potential.