The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Writers and the South

Overview

"Provocative and insightful." ? Lisa Hinrichsen, Callaloo

In The Scary Mason-Dixon Line, renowned literary scholar Trudier Harris explores why black U.S. writers, whether born in Mississippi, New York, or elsewhere, have consistently both loved and hated the South. Harris explains that for these authors the South represents not so much a place or even a culture as a rite of passage. Not one of them can consider himself or herself a true African American writer without ...

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The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Writers and the South

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Overview

"Provocative and insightful." — Lisa Hinrichsen, Callaloo

In The Scary Mason-Dixon Line, renowned literary scholar Trudier Harris explores why black U.S. writers, whether born in Mississippi, New York, or elsewhere, have consistently both loved and hated the South. Harris explains that for these authors the South represents not so much a place or even a culture as a rite of passage. Not one of them can consider himself or herself a true African American writer without confronting the idea of the South in a decisive way.

Harris considers native-born black southerners Raymond Andrews, Ernest J. Gaines, Edward P. Jones, Tayari Jones, Yusef Komunyakaa, Randall Kenan, and Phyllis Alesia Perry, and nonsouthern writers James Baldwin, Sherley Anne Williams, and Octavia E. Butler. The works Harris examines date from Baldwin's Blues for Mr. Charlie (1964) to Edward P. Jones's The Known World (2003). By including Komunyakaa's poems and Baldwin's play, as well as male and female authors, Harris demonstrates that the writers' preoccupation with the South cuts across lines of genre and gender.

A singular work by one of the foremost literary scholars writing today, The Scary Mason-Dixon Line superbly demonstrates how history and memory continue to figure powerfully in African American literary creativity.

The author or editor of numerous books, Trudier Harris has taught African American and American literature, as well as folklore, for more than three decades. Formerly J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she is currently professor of English at the University of Alabama.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807152300
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Series: Southern Literary Studies
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 247
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

The author or editor of numerous books, Trudier Harris has taught African American and American literature, as well as folklore, for more than three decades. She is currently J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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