This erudite study of the formal elements of Southern prose narrative provocatively suggests that it is not the South's regional history that makes its literature distinctive but the unique structure of Southern narrative expression. Drawing on Kermode, Auerbach, James, and other narrative critics, Kreyling examines some 30 works, including novels by William Gilmore Simms, Ellen Glasgow, William Faulkner, and Walker Percy. Particularly illuminating are his analyses of the nationalization of the Southern hero and Faulkner's pierrotic hero. In his treatment of Allen Tate and the mythic allure of Robert E. Lee, Kreyling also studies various attempts to revive the heroic mode in Southern literature. A truly impressive scholarly study most suited to academic and larger public collections. Laurence Hull, Cannon Memorial Lib., Concord, N.C.