Sharon M. Harris, University of Connecticut, Storrs
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Fall 2011), 291-315
Davis’s thirty-two years of writing fiction for Peterson’s Magazine afforded her the opportunity to explore various popular genres (including mysteries, the gothic, the grotesque, romance, and realism) and to articulate her political views. Stories such as “The Locked Chamber” (January 1862) and “A Story of Life-Insurance” (June 1862) reflect her attitudes about the North and South during the Civil War years. Drawing on her interests in law and medicine, Davis envisioned a decaying South in her fiction for Peterson’s Magazine and formulated a theory that this article terms the “anatomy of complicity” to articulate the South’s responsibility for its own downfall by clinging to the abusive system of slavery and to false ideas about honor among slaveholders.