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By Ernest J. Gaines

Set on a Louisiana sugarcane plantation within the Nineteen Seventies, A collecting of previous Men is a strong depiction of racial tensions bobbing up over the dying of a Cajun farmer by the hands of a black guy.

"Poignant, strong, earthy...a novel of Southern racial disagreement within which a bunch of aged black males band jointly opposed to whites who search vengeance for the homicide of 1 in their own."--Booklist

"A advantageous novel...there is a denouement that might surprise and flow readers up to it does the characters."--Philadelphia Inquirer

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Even in this qualified context, the ‘dearest tie’ is suggestive of a substitute marriage. Even where it involved only single men or women, this relationship between the ideals of friendship and marriage could at times be an uneasy one; the common terms in which each is described can serve to conceal an intrinsic tension in emotional Ennobling Genius 31 discourse, as much as it suggests an insouciant naïveté on the part of some writers. Notably ambiguous is the tone of an anonymous essayist who contrives to use military imagery that is reminiscent both of religious exhortation and, more familiarly yet, the language of romantic love: These gentle first approaches, this ripening intercourse, this growing attraction that may end in strongest love, – we have influence over these.

In detailing the corruption of his central protagonist by a refined Mephistopheles, Wilde was breaking an important rule of the game. Within accepted models of romantic friendship there are, then, conventions and symbolic registers of status recognised and mediated by Victorian writers. The parameters and possible dangers of romantic friendship once established, it is important that a writer should be able to convey this status, for instance in the basic terms of sincerity and durability. In literature of the period, characteristically, the nature of friendship is often tested or intensified during periods of illness, as one character succeeds or fails in nursing another.

In confiding in his father, Hardy reveals quite specifically that his love for his friend is not problematic (he has discreetly concealed the difficulties of his social position Extraordinary Reserve 37 for several years), and this sense of transparency is underlined for the reader by the action of Captain Hardy in serving as mediator. At the same time, the disjunction between what Hardy says directly to Tom (‘I like you’) and the resonance of his father’s comment – elsewhere the narrator has described Hardy as a ‘loving soul’ – points to an awkwardness in expression between the two young men.

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