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Sometimes an image can teach us more about our times than volumes of exposition. This is especially the case when it is a poet who has framed the image, finding a meaningful metaphor in the raw materials of a familiar world. When, in the spring of 1961, the Southern literary critic Donald Davidson cast about for a contemporary historian whose views would chastise his "too, too Southern flesh," he turned to C. Vann Woodward. In an address delivered at Nashville's Belmont College, Davidson spoke of sitting "puritanically upright" in an "uncomfortable chair," enduring the requisite mortification of reading Woodward's The Burden of Southern History. Clearly the Tennessee traditionalist knew what he was doing when he selected a representative of the "new breed" of Southern scholars as a symbolic adversary, and The Burden of Southern History to represent that new breed.