The Myth of New Orleans in Literature: Dialogues of Race and Gender

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Many writers have appropriated the rich and varied rituals, attitudes, ceremonies, and language of New Orleans for various literary purposes. The culture can be read in the texts of George Washington Cable, Grace King, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Marcus Christian, Tennessee Williams, Tom Dent, and Brenda Marie Osbey. The idea of New Orleans as courtesan as well as the realization of the interdependence of the races in the city's music, art, architecture, religious worship, and community performance become legend in their works. Violet Bryan examines these literary appropriations and shows how writers from 1880 to the present have variously reflected a culture that registers complex patterns of race, gender, and class. Bryan examines the implicit and explicit connections between writers and their texts that compose the literary culture of New Orleans.
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Editorial Reviews

Bryan explores the intersection of culture and literature, drawing from the likes of Tennessee Williams, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Walker Percy, Ishmael Reed and Kate Chopin shared themes that go beyond divisions of gender, class and race. She discusses such topics as the development of an urban myth, the dialectic of race, the Louisiana Federal Writers' Project of the WPA (1936-43) and post-1960s African American literature in New Orleans. Excellently illustrated in b&w. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870497896
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Literary Dialogues and the Development of an Urban Myth 1
2 Cable, Chesnutt, and the Dialectic of Race 12
3 Defining Race, Gender, and the Myth: King, Chopin, and Dunbar-Nelson 42
4 The Double Dealer Movement and New Orleans as Courtesan in Faulkner's Mosquitoes and Absalom, Absalom! 79
5 Shaping Patterns of Myth and Folklore: The Federal Writers' Projects 95
6 Abstractions of Time and Place: Williams and Percy 115
7 African-American Dialogues and Revisionist Strategies: Dent, Reed, Kein, and Osbey 130
Conclusion 159
Notes 165
Bibliography 193
Index 213
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