Southern Women's Writing: Colonial to Contemporary / Edition 1

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"The southern lady, traditionally depicted as a bloodlessly marmoreal icon, is jostled off her pedestal by living, moving, and, above all, speaking and writing women, black and white, rich and poor, old and young, in this unique anthology which so pleasurably delineates a long-obscured feminine literary tradition."--Veronica Makowsky, University of Connecticut

"Timely and long overdue.  The contribution of women to southern traditions is often undervalued, and gathering them here provides an unmistakable mark of their range and quality.  This collection should encourage important reevaluations of southern writing and the contributions of its women authors."--Barbara C. Ewell, Loyola University, New Orleans
A problematic relationship forms the core of this anthology--the interwoven lives of southern women.  On the one hand, they are linked by gender; on the other, they are divided by racism, class conflict, and sexual politics.  As suggested by these selections from both white and African-American women from the early eighteenth to the late twentieth century, their struggles capture the essence and the evolution of the southern woman's voice.
 With artistic and historical richness seldom found in literary anthologies, this collection includes letters, journal and diary entries, essays, poetry, and fiction, with an introduction to each historical period and a biography of each author.
 While all the writers share the label "southern woman," some test the boundary of that designation.  Fanny Kemble, a British actress, moved to the Georgia plantation that her husband inherited; Leigh Allison Wilson, the youngest writer, was born and raised in the South but writes about New York state.  However, all authors reflect or refract their personal experience; together their work conveys the range and texture of the literary tradition of the South and of its women writers.

List of writers
Eliza Lucas Pinckney
Eliza Wilkinson
Anne Newport Royall
Caroline Howard Gilman
Fanny Kemble
Susan Petigru King Bowen
Harriet Jacobs
Frances E. W. Harper
Sarah Grimké
Mary Boykin Chesnut
Augusta Jane Evans Wilson
Elizabeth Keckley
Margaret Junkin Preston
Katherine McDowell
Mary Noailles Murfree
Grace King
Kate Chopin
Julia Mood Peterkin
Alice Dunbar-Nelson
Caroline Gordon
Evelyn Scott
Katherine Anne Porter
Zora Neale Hurston
Carson McCullers
Flannery O'Connor
Eudora Welty
Margaret Walker
Doris Betts
Sonia Sanchez
Mab Segrest
Bobbie Ann Mason
Alice Walker
Ellen Gilchrist
Leigh Allison Wilson
Mary Louise Weaks is associate professor and chair of the Department of English at Rockford College in Illinois.  She is the coeditor of Talking with Robert Penn Warren and author of articles, interviews, and reviews published in The Southern Review, Mississippi Quarterly, and Atlanta Historical Journal.   Carolyn Perry is assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.  She is the coeditor of The Dolphin Reader.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In Southern Women's Writing, editors Weaks (English, Rockford Coll.) and Perry (English, Westminster Coll.) have compiled an exceptional collection of writings by women who have lived and are living in the American South. Both black and white writers are represented and all share, and are divided by, a common heritage of racism, gender bias, and social stratification. Drawing on letters, journal entries, essays, poems, and fictional pieces, the compilers trace the evolution of the Southern feminine point of view from the early 18th century to the late 20th century. The first writer featured, Eliza Lucas Pinckney, was born in 1772, and, the last, Leigh Allison Wilson, in 1959. Because of its richness and accessibility, the anthology will probably become a standard text in college courses in American Southern literature and women's studies, making it essential for all academic libraries and enthusiastically recommended for all others. Downhome contains 21 previously published short stories by contemporary Southern female writers. Eight of the writers are included in the Weaks-Perry anthologyKatherine Anne Porter, Zora Neale Hurston, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Doris Betts, Bobbie Ann Mason, Alice Walker, and Ellen Gilchristbut only one selection, Bobbie Ann Mason's "Shiloh," appears in both books. Brief paragraphs at the end of the book identify the authors, though editor Mee (fiction, NYU) strains to make her points about a "shared legacy" and "distinctive language." The stories trace the life cycle from "Growing Up" to "The Pleasures and Miseries of Marriage" to "Passing On." Although this is a good group of stories, as a whole the collection is not unique and not as rigorously researched as Southern Women's Writing. Recommended for popular literature collections in libraries lacking the writers covered.Carol A. McAllister, Coll. of William and Mary Lib., Williamsburg, Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813014111
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.95 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Louise Weaks is associate professor and chair of the Department of English at Rockford College in Illinois.  She is the coeditor of Talking with Robert Penn Warren and author of articles, interviews, and reviews published in The Southern Review, Mississippi Quarterly,  and Atlanta Historical Journal.   Carolyn Perry is assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.  She is the coeditor of The Dolphin Reader.

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Table of Contents

1 From The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739-1762 14
2 From Letters of Eliza Wilkinson, During the Invasion and Possession of Charlestown, S.C., by the British in the Revolutionary War 22
3 From Letters from Alabama, 1817-1822 32
4 "Mary Anna Gibbes, the Young Heroine of Stono, S.C." 42
5 From Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839 "Women in Slavery" 48
6 "A Marriage of Persuasion" 55
7 From Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Woman, Addressed to Mary S. Parker, President of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society 62
8 "Bible Defence of Slavery"
"An Appeal to My Countrywomen"
"Bury Me in a Free Land" 70
9 From Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
"The New Master and Mistress"
"The Lover" 76
10 From Mary Chesnut's Civil War "Nation in the Making" 98
11 From Macaria; or, Altars of Sacrifice (Chapter 30) 115
12 From Beechenbrook; A Rhyme of the War 125
13 From Behind the Scenes, or Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House (Chapter 7) 132
14 "Gran'mammy"
"Why Gran'mammy Didn't Like Pound-Cake" 146
15 "The Dancin' Party at Harrison's Cove" 153
16 "The Little Convent Girl" 169
17 "A Respectable Woman" 177
18 "Over the River" 182
19 "Sonnet"
"April Is on the Way"
"Cano - I Sing"
"The Proletariat Speaks" 194
20 From The Wave (Chapter 1) 208
21 "The Journey" 215
22 "The Petrified Woman" 229
23 "The Eatonville Anthology" 242
24 "The Haunted Boy" 254
25 "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" 267
26 "Livvie" 279
27 "For Malcolm X"
"Birmingham, 1963"
"The African Village" 300
28 "Beasts of the Southern Wild" 304
29 "We a BadddDDD People"
"From a Black Feminist Conference, Reflections on Margaret Walker: Poet"
"A Letter to Dr. Martin Luther King" 318
30 "The Black Writer and the Southern Experience" 326
31 "Shiloh" 332
32 "Southern Women Writing: Toward a Literature of Wholeness" 346
33 "The Expansion of the Universe" 365
34 "South of the Border" 381
Selected Bibliography 391
Credits 409
Index 411
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