W. J. Cash and the Minds of the South

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When W. J. Cash hanged himself in a Mexico City hotel room in 1941, he could not have imagined the huge and lasting impact that his recently published book, The Mind of the South, would have on the study of his native region. In time the book became nothing less than a classic. In the half-century since its appearance, it has never been out of print. In February, 1991, Wake Forest University sponsored a major conference to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the book's publication. The conference assessed, ...
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Overview

When W. J. Cash hanged himself in a Mexico City hotel room in 1941, he could not have imagined the huge and lasting impact that his recently published book, The Mind of the South, would have on the study of his native region. In time the book became nothing less than a classic. In the half-century since its appearance, it has never been out of print. In February, 1991, Wake Forest University sponsored a major conference to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the book's publication. The conference assessed, from the perspectives of a variety of scholarly disciplines, the evolving perceptions of Cash and his book and compared Cash's South with today's. Edited by Paul D. Escott, W. J. Cash and the Minds of the South is the collection that grew out of that gathering. Written by some of the most noted authorities in the field, these essays add up to an informed, thoughtful, and provocative assessment of the current state of southern studies. The first section examines important aspects of Cash's life and the South he lived in. Bruce Clayton analyzes Cash's personal circumstances to help explain why he felt compelled to criticize so harshly the region he dearly loved. Raymond Gavins looks at the racial context of Cash's world, especially the situation of North Carolina blacks in the Age of Jim Crow. Using information from medical studies on depression and creativity, Bertram Wyatt-Brown explores the relationship between Cash's mental instability and his success as a writer. The second section focuses on The Mind of the South itself. Richard King investigates Cash's attitude toward political modernity and compares southern intolerance with the dark forces of Nazism and fascism, and Nell Irvin Painter assesses Cash's views on race and gender and finds much to criticize in them. Elizabeth Jacoway looks closely at Cash's interpretation of the white South's cult of southern womanhood, and David Hackett Fischer compares Cash's work with that of Cash's contemporary Jame
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In February 1991, Wake Forest U. sponsored a symposium to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Cash's The Mind of the South. The present collection of essays, developed from papers presented at the symposium, assesses both Cash's insights and errors and the new issues that must be pursued in studies of the South. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807117736
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1992
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note
Introduction 1
Pt. I Cash and His World
W. J. Cash: A Mind of the South 9
Behind a Veil: Black North Carolinians in the Age of Jim Crow 23
W. J. Cash: Creativity and Suffering in a Southern Writer 38
Pt. II The Mind of the South Reconsidered
Cash and the Crisis of Political Modernity 67
Race, Gender, and Class in The Mind of the South: Cash's Maps of Sexuality and Power 88
The South's Palladium: The Southern Woman and the Cash Construct 112
Two Minds of the South: Ideas of Southern History in W. J. Cash and James McBride Dabbs 134
Pt. III Southern Studies Since Cash
The Politics of the Modern South 167
Economic Progress and the Mind of the South 187
Passion and Discontinuities: A Semicycle of Mind, 1941-1991 207
Mind and Countermind: A Personal Perspective on W. J. Cash's Mind of the South 226
Afterword 243
Contributors 257
Index 259
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