Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology / Edition 1

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Overview

For nearly four centuries, the American South has been home to a vital literary tradition.The Literature of the American South reconsiders southern writing from its seventeenth-century origins to its flourishing present. Featuring the works of eighty-seven classic, contemporary, and newly recovered writers of all genres—poetry, short fiction, drama, novels, autobiography, criticism, sermons, memoirs, journals, and letters—this groundbreaking anthology sheds new light on the creative power of the southern imagination.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Writing from his experience as a professor of American and English literature at the University of Kentucky, Bryant has compiled here a thorough guidehe calls it a "primer"to the literary output of 20th-century Southerners. From this premise, Bryant is able to include writers like Ralph Ellison, James Agee and William Styron who migrated north but whose works nonetheless both inform and are informed by the regional experience of the South. In more or less chronological order, Bryant leads the reader from the early plantation fiction with its idealized notions of the Old South, through the various movements centered around Vanderbilt Universitythe Fugitives, the Agrarians and the New Criticismall of which contributed greatly to the mid-century "Southern Renaissance," and beyond to a broad discussion of postmodern and contemporary writers. Special attention is given to major writers such as Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Shelby Foote and Robert Penn Warren, whom Bryant designates as "the supreme summary figure of the century," but the book also incorporates and draws connections between lesser-known writers or those whose one-time significance has since faded. Well organized with subchapters devoted to African American writers, women writers, playwrights, poets and critics, the book includes a good deal of background and biographical information. What the book offers in breadth of scope, however, it lacks in details such as quotations from the literature discussed or Bryant's own insights. Nonetheless, for the reader interested in a bird's-eye view of the major figures and trends in Southern literature, this work will be a welcome resource. (Nov.) FYI: Also due in October are Southern Writers with photos by David G. Spielman, text by William W. Starr (Univ. of S. Carolina $24.95 160p ISBN 1-57003-224-6; Oct.) and The Literature of the American South: Vol. II (Norton, $29.95 1060p ISBN 0-393-31671-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393316711
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1060
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

William L. Andrews (Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) is the editor of The Literature of Slavery and Freedom; co-editor of The Literature of the Reconstruction to the New Negro Renaissance. He is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is general editor of Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography and The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology, and co-editor of The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Other works include The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt; To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760–1865; Sisters of the Spirit; The Curse of Caste by Julia C. Collins; Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave; and Slave Narratives after Slavery.

Minrose C. Gwin (Ph.D. University of Tennessee) is professor of English at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of The Feminine and Faulkner: Reading (Beyond) Sexual Difference and Black and White Women of the Old South: The Peculiar Sisterhood in American Literature.

Trudier Harris (Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of five books, most recently The Power of the Porch: The Storyteller’s Craft in Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Naylor, and Randall Kenan, and a co-editor of The Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the United States and The Oxford Companion to African American Literature.

Fred Hobson (Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is Lineberger Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of numerous books, most recently Mencken: A Life and The Southern Writer in the Postmodern World, and a co-editor of Southern Literary Journal.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Anthology

    For starters, this is a TEXTBOOK! OK, that being said, this anthology highlights the best that southern American literature has to offer. It's broken up into several sections and includes a wide range of essays, short stories, poems, drama, and novel excerpts from writers like Thomas Jefferson to Zora Neale Hurston to James Dickey. Faulkner is in there, too. There are biographical sketches for each author.

    My only complaint is in the novel excerpts. They don't represent a whole work very well. It is only a snippet that fails to do justice to the entire piece, ie Chapter 2 from Ellison's INVISIBLE MAN. The whole chapter is there, but there is so much more to to this story.

    Overall, 4 out of 5 stars. Great poetry and short stories are found within this collection.

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