Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Katharine Rodier

Second Advisor

Mary Moore

Third Advisor

Sherri Smith


Although often maligned by literary scholars, Constance Cary Harrison, nineteenth-century novelist, journalist, essayist, and short-story author, achieved popular success with her subtle, but often radical, explorations of gender, and slavery during the antebellum and post-Civil War years. Furthermore, Harrison developed innovative characterizations of African-Americans while seeking nineteenth-century southern and northern readership through conciliatory prose. In particular, Harrison characterized a slave who gained his freedom and maintained a successful, independent life, without white assistance. This unique perspective for a Southern writer of her era stemmed from the war time destruction of her homestead, Vaucluse, which compelled Harrison to recreate an idealized perspective of the South, influenced, no doubt by her matriarchal family's vexed position as the first Virginians to manumit their slaves, and then, subsequently, to hire neighboring plantation slaves as servants.