The Oxford Book of the American South

The Oxford Book of the American South : Testimony, Memory and Fiction

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Description

The Oxford Book of the American South resonates with the words of black people and white, women and men, the powerless as well as the powerful. The collection presents the most telling fiction and nonfiction produced in the South from the late eighteenth century to the present. Renowned authors such as James Agee, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Lee Smith, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, and Flannery O'Connor appear in these pages, but so do people whose writing did not immediately reach a large audience. For example, Harriet A. Jacobs' book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, which is now recognized as one of the most illuminating narratives of a former slave, was neglected for generations. And Sarah Morgan's powerful Civil War Diary has only recently come to widespread attention. The Oxford Book of the American South presents compelling autobiographies, diaries, memoirs, and journalism as well as stories and selections from novels, and runs the spectrum from the conservative to the radical, the traditional to the innovative. Editors Edward L. Ayers and Bradley C. Mittendorf have arranged these diverse readings so that they fit together into a rich mosaic of Southern life and history. The sections of the book - The Old South, The Civil War and Its Consequences, Hard Times, and The Turning - unfold a vivid record of life below the Mason-Dixon line. We see the antebellum period both from the perspective of those who experienced it first-hand, such as Thomas Jefferson and former slaves Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass, and then from the perspective of authors looking back on that era, including William Styron and Sherley Anne Williams. Likewise, we see the Civil War through theeyes of witnesses such as Sam Watkins, through the eyes of later writers trying to make sense of the conflict, such as Robert Penn Warren, and through the eyes of those using the war's intense passions to fuel their fiction, such as Margaret Mitchell and Barry Hannah. The classic aushow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 607 pages
  • 149.86 x 215.9 x 48.26mm | 861.82g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195085221
  • 9780195085228

Review quote

"The Oxford Book of the American South is an adventurous, exciting, and satisfying way to look at the complex and ever-evolving culture of the South. Each of the fifty-eight selections is a jem in itself--personal, soul searching, and poignant. Some of the writers are familiar stars--Thomas Jefferson, Booker T. Washington, William Faulkner. Others, such as Lee Smith and Jim McLaurin, are stars rising. All together, this is a book about people, it is literature, and it is history as its best."--Joel Williamson, Fineberger Professor of Humanities, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hillshow more

About Edward L. Ayers

About the Editors: Edward L. Ayers, born in North Carolina, was raised in Tennessee and attended the University of Tennessee and Yale University. Ayers has taught the history and culture of the American South at the University of Virginia since 1980. His The Promise of the New South won the Owsley Prize for the best book on the history of the South and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Bradley C. Mittendorf, born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a writer and political consultant in his native town. He attended Louisiana State University and the University of Virginia and is currently working on a project concerning Robert Penn Warren.show more

Rating details

28 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 32% (9)
4 46% (13)
3 21% (6)
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