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This title cuts a feminist swath through orthodox readings of southern literature.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 165.6 x 240.8 x 34.8mm | 487.7g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252064445
  • 9780252064449

Back cover copy

The literature of the American South has been an established field of study for several decades, but most orthodox readings have neglected women writers' contributions. This innovative collection cuts a feminist swath through the old approach, reassessing the contributions to and influences on literature that have been made by Southern women writers. In her introduction, Carol S. Manning describes and challenges established readings of the Southern literary tradition. The first section of the book offers a wide-ranging account of Southern women's writings in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a reinterpretation of the beginning of the Southern Renaissance, and an argument in favor of desegregating that renaissance. A second section uncovers connections specifically suggestive of a female tradition in Southern literature. Contributors link well-known writers - Glasgow, Porter, Welty, O'Connor - through, for example, the theme of relationships between fathers and daughters. One traces writers' responses to the Southern Lady ideal in literature of the Southern Renaissance, while another argues that female orphans frequently represent literal or symbolic resistance to the patriarchy. One contributor describes "spiritual daughters of the black American South", and another links contemporary authors Gail Godwin and Alice Walker through their portrayals of interracial friendships. The book's third section explores works by individual writers who the authors believe have been underrated: Caroline Hentz, Beatrice Ravenel, Olive Dargan, Caroline Gordon, and Zelda Fitzgerald. It ends with an essay of biographical criticism and an autobiographical gem by Doris Betts.show more

Review quote

"Distinguished... These essays reclaim women's traditions which have been neglected by critics who ought to have known better." -- Kathryn Lee Seidel, author of The Southern Belle in the American Novelshow more

Rating details

6 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 33% (2)
4 50% (3)
3 17% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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