A Southern Weave of Women: Fiction of the Contemporary South

Overview

Since 1980 the South has experienced a tremendous resurgence in fiction by women—black and white, rich and poor, from the Deep South and from Appalachia. This revival marks a critical stage in the development of southern literature, for it offers a revisionary, multicultural, feminist, yet still traditionally southern perspective. A Southern Weave of Women is one of the first sustained treatments of the generation of women writers who came of age in the post-World War II South as well as one of the first to ...

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Overview

Since 1980 the South has experienced a tremendous resurgence in fiction by women—black and white, rich and poor, from the Deep South and from Appalachia. This revival marks a critical stage in the development of southern literature, for it offers a revisionary, multicultural, feminist, yet still traditionally southern perspective. A Southern Weave of Women is one of the first sustained treatments of the generation of women writers who came of age in the post-World War II South as well as one of the first to situate southern literature fully within a multicultural context.

Linda Tate considers the ways in which the women writers of the present generation reflect, expand, transform, and redefine long-standing notions of regional culture and womanhood. Focusing on women who suggest the regional, class, and ethnic diversity of contemporary southern writing, Tate discusses such writers as Jill McCorkle, Shay Youngblood, Ellen Douglas, Dori Sanders, Rita Mae Brown, Lee Smith, Alice Walker, Bobbie Ann Mason, Linda Beatrice Brown, and Kaye Gibbons. As these women carve out new definitions of southern womanhood, Tate contends, they also look for ways to retain what is valuable about past conceptions while seeking to revise and expand the traditional roles. In doing so, they reconsider their relationships to home, family, and other southern women; to issues of race and class in the South; to women's obscured role in the region's past; and to the southern land itself. Situating the works of these writers within a larger social context, Tate examines their misinterpretation by male filmmakers and lauds the corrective role that small and independent presses have played in providing a vehicle through which myopic male visions of southern women might be countered.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Tate unearths in these writers a distinctive, realistic narrative strategy that rejects postmodernist metafiction and redefines the role of the southern woman, who wrested power from the dominant (white, male, middle-class) culture. . . . A good introduction to a feminist reading of southern writers.”—Library Journal
Library Journal
Tate (English, Shepherd Coll.) examines the works of contemporary Southern women writers in an attempt to demonstrate the common thread of a colloquial storytelling voice. Tate unearths in these writers a distinctive, realistic narrative strategy that rejects postmodernist metafiction and redefines the role of the Southern woman, who wrested power from the dominant (white, male, middle-class) culture. Tate sets the stage with an overview of Eudora Welty, Zora Neale Hurston, Kate Chopin, and Elizabeth Madox Roberts and then treats in more depth the works of writers like Jill McCorkle, Bobbie Ann Mason, Alice Walker, and Dori Sanders. Her analysis highlights the writers' emphasis on sense of place and ties to family, home, and history and suggests that friendships are a key source of subversive empowerment. Despite her use of literary critical lingo, this is a good introduction to a feminist reading of Southern writers; recommended for women's and Southern literature collections.-Ellen Finnie Duranceau, MIT Lib.
Booknews
An examination of the generation of women writers who came of age in the post-WWII South, situating southern literature within a multicultural context. Focusing on women who suggest the regional, class, and ethnic diversity of contemporary southern writing, Tate discusses such writers as Jill McCorkle, Shay Youngblood, Ellen Douglas, Dori Sanders, Rita Mae Brown, Lee Smith, Alice Walker, Bobbie Ann Mason, Linda Beatrice Brown, and Kaye Gibbons. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Linda Tate is an assistant professor of English at Shepherd College.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 All the Women": Family, Home, and Healing in the Changing South 9
2 Race and Region: Black and White Sisters of the Now South 43
3 Revisioning the Backward Glance: New Views of Southern History 73
4 No Place Like Home: Learning to Read Two Writers' Maps 112
5 Erasing the South: The Creation of "Universal" Films 149
6 The Southern Wild Zone: Voices on the Margins 174
Conclusion and Acknowledgments 205
Notes 209
Works Consulted 219
Index 233
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