A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American South / Edition 1

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From slave narratives to the Civil War, and from country music to Southern sport, this Companion is the definitive guide to the literature and culture of the American South.

  • Includes discussion of the visual arts, music, society, history, and politics in the region
  • Combines treatment of major literary works and historical events with a survey of broader themes, movements and issues
  • Explores the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Huston, Flannery O'Connor and Eudora Welty, as well as those - black and white, male and female - who are writing now
  • Co-edited by the esteemed scholar Richard Gray, author of the acclaimed volume, A History of American Literature (Blackwell, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The latest volume in Blackwell's "Companions to Literature and Culture" series features 33 brief essays that run the gamut of the Southern experience, from the Jamestown settlers to the contemporary era…Like Blackwell guides, the quality of the essays is high, and the authors cover as many points as possible within the space limits given them. Highly recommended. All academic and public libraries.”

"[T]he many contributors, British and American, to this splendid compendium of fact and opinion demonstrate the rich variety of literature and music that has emanated from the South in the past 150 years [...] The Companion is methodical in its overall structure and is comprehensive, informative and clearly written throughout. Each chapter has extensive lists of references and further reading and the index is full and accurate. This is a work that will remain a vital source for students of the subject and that can be profitably used by readers in general."
Reference Reviews

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Richard Gray is Professor in the Department of Literature at the University of Essex. His books include The Literature of Memory: Modern Writers of the American South, Writing the South: Ideas of an American Region (which won the C. Hugh Holman Award from the Society for the Study of Southern Literature), American Poetry of the Twentieth Century, The Life of William Faulkner: A Critical Biography, Southern Aberrations: Writers of the American South and the Problems of Regionalism, and A History of American Literature. He is also editor of a number of collections and anthologies, and a regular reviewer for various newspapers and journals, including the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review. He is the first specialist in American literature to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

Owen Robinson is Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Essex. He is the author of several articles on the novels of William Faulkner, and is editing A Routledge Guide to Light in August. He is currently working on writing centred on New Orleans, and on reader-writer relations in African American literature.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments x

Notes on Contributors xii

List of Plates xviii

PART I Introduction 1

1 Writing Southern Cultures 3
Richard Gray

PART II Themes and Issues 27

2 The First Southerners: Jamestown’s Colonists as Exemplary Figures 29
Mary C. Fuller

3 Slave Narratives 43
Jerry Phillips

4 Plantation Fiction 58
John M. Grammer

5 The Slavery Debate 76
Susan-Mary Grant

6 Southern Writers and the Civil War 93
Susan-Mary Grant

7 Visualizing the Poor White 110
Stuart Kidd

8 Southern Appalachia 130
Linda Tate

9 The Southern Literary Renaissance 148
Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr.

10 The Native-American South 166
Mick Gidley and Ben Gidley

11 Southern Music 185
John White

12 Country Music 203
Barbara Ching

13 The Civil Rights Debate 221
Richard H. King

14 Southern Religion(s) 238
Charles Reagan Wilson

15 African-American Fiction and Poetry 255
R. J. Ellis

16 Southern Drama 280
Mark Zelinsky and Amy Cuomo

17 Sports in the South 297
Diane Roberts

18 The South Through Other Eyes 317
Helen Taylor

19 The South in Popular Culture 335
Allison Graham

PART III Individuals and Movements 353

20 Edgar Allan Poe 355
Henry Claridge

21 Southwestern Humor 370
John M. Grammer

22 Mark Twain 388
Peter Stoneley

23 Ellen Glasgow 403
Julius Rowan Raper

24 Fugitives and Agrarians 420
Andrew Hook

25 William Faulkner 436
Richard Godden

26 Literature of the African-American Great Migration 454
Kate Fullbrook

27 Zora Neale Hurston 472
Will Brantley

28 Flannery O’Connor 486
Susan Castillo

29 Eudora Welty 502
Jan Nordby Gretlund

30 Oral Culture and Southern Fiction 518
Jill Terry

31 Recent and Contemporary Women Writers in the South 536
Sharon Monteith

32 The South in Contemporary African-American Fiction 552
A. Robert Lee

33 Writing in the South Now 571
Matthew Guinn

PART IV Afterword 589

34 Searching for Southern Identity 591
James C. Cobb

Index 608

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