American Vein: Critical Readings In Appalachian Literature

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The blossoming of Appalachian studies began some thirty years ago. Thousands of young people from the hills have since been made aware of their region's rich literary tradition through high school and college courses. An entire generation has discovered that their own landscapes, families, and communities had been truthfully portrayed by writers whose background was similar to their own.

An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature is an anthology of literary criticism of Appalachian novelists, poets, and playwrights. The book reprises critical writing of influential authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Cratis Williams, and Jim Wayne Miller. It introduces new writing by Rodger Cunningham, Elizabeth Engelhardt, and others.

Many writers from the mountains have found success and acclaim outside the region, but the region itself as a thriving center of literary creativity has not been widely appreciated. The editors of An American Vein have remedied this, producing the first general collection of Appalachian literary criticism. This book is a resource for those who teach and read Appalachian literature. What's more, it holds the promise of introducing new readers, nationally and internationally, to Appalachian literature and its relevance to our times.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“From Cratis Williams’ classic study The Southern Mountaineer in Fact and Fiction to contemporary scholarship on ecocriticism, this impressive collection of essays provides an important, though too long neglected, part of American literary history. This book effectively gives Appalachian literature the serious attention it deserves.”
— Sandra L. Ballard, editor of Appalachian Journal and Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia

“It‘s not often that a collection of literary criticism this solid, comprehensive, and comprehensible appears.”
Journal of Appalachian Studies

“The overall thrust of the anthology is to present Appalachian literature afresh, and to point out its centrality to American literature as a whole while establishing it as a legitimate regional literature. The editors acknowledge that no single work can accomplish all this, but An American Vein is a strong beginning and an excellent introduction to an underappreciated vein of literature.”
Rocky Mountain Review

An American Vein succeeds where many southern scholarly studies fail, by considering the work of (Lee) Smith, (Fred) Chappell, and a host of other writers, living and dead, as embodiments of the mountain cultures that produced them.... The book's content is highly varied, rich, and sturdy.”
The Sewanee Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821415894
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2005
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Danny L. Miller is the chair of the Department of Literature and Language at Northern Kentucky University. He is the author of Wingless Flights: Appalachian Women in Fiction.

Sharon Hatfield is an independent writer and editor whose interests include Appalachian history, literature, and media. She is the author of Never Seen the Moon: The Trials of Edith Maxwell.

Guerney Norman is a novelist and short story writer whose works include Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories and Divine Right’s Trip. He is the director of the creative writing program at the University of Kentucky and coeditor of Back Talk from Appalachia: Confronting Stereotypes.

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Table of Contents

• Preface
• Introduction
• 1: New Directions: Folk or Hillbilly?
Cratis D. Williams
• 2: Appalachian Literature at Home in This World
Jim Wayne Miller
• 3: Jesse Stuart and James Still: Mountain Regionalists
Dayton Kohler
• 4: The Changing Poetic Canon: The Case of Jesse Stuart and Ezra Pound
Charles H. Daughaday
• 5: James Still’s Poetry: “The Journey a Worldly Wonder”
Jeff Daniel Marion
• 6: On Harriette Arnow's The Dollmaker
Joyce Carol Oates
• 7: The Christian and the Classic in The Dollmaker
Barbara Hill Rigney
• 8: Social Criticism in the Works of Wilma Dykeman
Oliver King Jones III
• 9: Casting a Long Shadow: The Tall Woman
Patricia Gantt
• 10: O Beulah Land: The “Yaller Vision” of Jeremiah Catlett
Jane Gentry Vance
• 11: The Beulah/Canona Connection: Mary Lee Settle’s Autobiographies
Nancy Carol Joyner
• 12: The Appalachian Homeplace as Oneiric House in Jim Wayne Miller’s The Mountains Have Come Closer
Don Johnson
• 13: The Mechanical Metaphor: Machine and Tool Images in The Mountains Have Come Closer
Ricky Cox
• 14: Kin and Kindness in Gurney Norman’s Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories
Danny L. Miller
• 15: “The Primal Ground of Life”: The Integration of Traditional and Countercultural Values in the Work of Gurney Norman
Timothy J. Dunn
• 16: John Ehle and Appalachian Fiction
Leslie Banner
• 17: The Power of Language in Lee Smith's Oral History
Corinne Dale
• 18: A New, Authoritative Voice: Fair and Tender Ladies
Dorothy Combs Hill
• 19: “Where’s Love?”: The Overheard Quest in the Stories of Jo Carson
Robert J. Higgs
• 20: Family Journeys in Jo Carson’s Daytrips
Anita J. Turpin
• 21: Points of Kinship: Community and Allusion in Fred Chappell’s Midquest
John Lang
• 22: Fred Chappell’s Urn of Memory: I Am One of You Forever
Hilbert Campbell
• 23: Coming Out from Under Calvinism: Religious Motifs in Robert Morgan’s Poetry
John Lang
• 24: Robert Morgan’s Mountain Voice and Lucid Prose
Cecelia Conway
• 25. Class and Identity in Denise Giardina’s Storming Heaven
Terry Easton
• 26: Cormac McCarthy: Restless Seekers
John G. Cawelti
• 27. Claiming a Literary Space: The Affrilachian Poets
Theresa L. Burriss
• 28: Nature-Loving Souls and Appalachian Mountains: The Promise of Feminist Ecocriticism
Elizabeth Engelhardt
• 29: The Wolves of Egypt: John Crowley’s Appalachians
Rodger Cunningham
• Supplemental Notes on Authors
• Contributors
• Index

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