The Language of the American South

Overview


In this volume Cleanth Brooks pays tribute to the language and literature of the American South. He writes of the language's unique syntax and its celebrated languorous rhythms; of the classical allusions and Addisonian locutions once favored by the gentry; and of the more earthbound eloquence, rooted in the dialect of England's southern lowlands, that is still heard in the speech of the region's plain folk.

It is this rich spoken language, Brooks suggests, that has always been...

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Overview


In this volume Cleanth Brooks pays tribute to the language and literature of the American South. He writes of the language's unique syntax and its celebrated languorous rhythms; of the classical allusions and Addisonian locutions once favored by the gentry; and of the more earthbound eloquence, rooted in the dialect of England's southern lowlands, that is still heard in the speech of the region's plain folk.

It is this rich spoken language, Brooks suggests, that has always been the life blood of southern writing. The strong tradition of storytelling in the South is reflected in the tales told by Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus and in the obsessive retellings that structure William Faulkner's novels and stories. But even more crucially, the language of the South--firmly rooted in the land but with a tendency to reach for the heavens above--has shaped the literary concerns and molded the complex visions to be found in the poetry of Robert Penn Warren and John Crowe Ransom; the stories of Flannery O'Connor, Peter Taylor, and Eudora Welty; and the novels of Warren, Allen Tate, and Walker Percy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is one of those books that make you want to read more books, make you want to read or reread a whole passel of books by Southern writers for the pure pleasure of hearing the people in them talk."--Philadelphia Inquirer

"[Brooks] has demonstrated once again why he is regarded as one of our most highly competent and engaging scholar-critics. . . . An informatively compact, fluent, scholarly, and edifying inquiry into the most essential tool of the writing trade-language."--Southern Humanities Review

"A powerful argument against the hegemony of formal, standardized English. The Language of the American South is a compelling reflection on the intertwining of a living, multi-layered language, a people, a literature, and a place.”--Dallas News

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Product Details

Meet the Author


Cleanth Brooks (1906-1994) was Gray Professor of Rhetoric Emeritus at Yale University. Over his distinguished career, he published innumerable books and articles of great influence on the study of American literature, and in particular southern literature; among them are The Well-Wrought Urn and three volumes of a monumental study of William Faulkner.
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