NYT honors Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Historian Who Examined Southern Conduct, with glowing obituary

Bertram Wyatt-Brown, a historian of the American South who documented how honor and the sometimes violent means by which people sought to preserve it were central forces in Southern culture and in the region’s embrace of slavery, died on Nov. 5 in Baltimore. He was 80.

The cause was pulmonary fibrosis, his wife, Anne, said.

Mr. Wyatt-Brown’s breakthrough work, “Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South,” published in 1982, was an unusual blend of literary analysis, parlor politics, suspenseful storytelling and extensively documented historical research, a combination that reflected Mr. Wyatt-Brown’s diverse interests and his embrace of anthropology and the emerging field of cultural history.

Mr. Wyatt-Brown emphasized that honor — and what he called its opposite, shame — had been important social forces in many cultures. But he asserted that honor played a special role in the antebellum South and its institution of slavery....

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