The Anniversary Issue
David A. Davis, the SSSL newsletter editor, is Assistant Professor of English and Southern Studies at Mercer University.
The year marks the 43rd anniversary of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature’s founding. We tend not to mark such dates, preferring instead to observe anniversaries neatly divisible by ten or twenty-five. As literary critics, we might feel the impulse to observe drily that all of these dates are merely arbitrary constructions manufactured for the specious performance of acts of memory, although I would not recommend using that line on your significant other.
While the society’s anniversary may not yet fall into the accepted bracket for celebration and reflection—we’ll save that for the fiftieth anniversary in 2018—this year does mark several other significant anniversaries, including the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the seventy-fifth anniversary of Gone with the Wind’s publication, and the fiftieth anniversary of the freedom rides. These three events form a significant cluster for scholars of southern literature, giving us an opportunity both to consider the trajectory of our discipline and to observe the evolution of southern culture. The theme of the society’s biennial conference is anniversaries, and the call for papers offers many promising opportunities for reflection and inquiry about several important anniversaries in addition to these three, while also continuing many other ongoing conversations.
This issue of the newsletter follows the conference theme as well, considering the role of anniversaries in a couple of articles that will become recurring features. In a state of the field column, Cole Hutchison outlines the state of Civil War criticism, noting recent developments and potential for further research. In an SSSL interview, Margaret D. Bauer discusses Gone with the Wind and its continued cultural resonance. Future issues of the newsletter will include state of the field columns on topics in southern literary criticism and interviews about important topics in the field in addition to reports of conferences and events of interest to southern literary critics.
The most obvious change in the newsletter is the medium. Beginning with this issue, the newsletter will convert to a web-based format. Soon, we intend to incorporate the newsletter into the society’s website, but for now my colleagues at Mercer have been kind enough to offer a temporary location.
I am excited to take on this responsibility for the society, and I am grateful to my able predecessor, Sarah Gleeson-White, for passing on such a well-established publication. I also thank Michael Kreyling for inviting me to edit the newsletter, Katie McKee for patiently answering my bewildered questions, and Catherine Roe, my editorial assistant, for compiling the recent publications. My greatest wish for the newsletter going forward is that it be a vehicle for dynamic discourse. I hope that we can raise issues that will be discussed on h-southern lit, at conferences, and in journals, and I am extremely receptive to suggestions for topics and events to cover. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, happy anniversaries.
Michael Kreyling, the president of SSSL, is Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.
I feel a little bit like Garrison Keillor as I try to get this column under way. It’s been a busy season in SSSL, the Lake Woebegone of my report. The unpredictable status of the SSSL website has been a bother to us all for some time. The library at the University of South Carolina generously offered to host it, and you can find it there now: http://sssl.library.sc.edu. But it is neither up to date as a website nor interactive. I found an undergraduate here at Vanderbilt University who can show me how to breathe some life into it, but we haven’t had any time to meet for the last month or two. It has been that kind of a semester. I promise, though, that in time to register for the bi-annual conference it will be humming.
The conference is taking shape. As you may know, we’ll be meeting on Thursday and Friday (March 29 and 30) in the Scarritt-Bennett Center, a small college converted into a conference center, just across the street from Vanderbilt. Saturday (March 31) we’ll meet on the Vanderbilt University campus in Buttrick Hall, a recently remodeled classroom building. Converted dorm rooms with shared baths are still available at Scarritt-Bennett for those on limited travel budgets, and for those with more liberal budgets, there is a block of rooms set aside at the Embassy Suites Hotel just a few blocks away. See the CFP for contact information.
The plan for the 2012 Conference is to meet for sessions on Thursday afternoon and all day Friday and Saturday. To save some money on facility rental and to keep the attendance at and quality of the presentations as high as we can, I made an executive decision not to schedule sessions on Sunday, April 1, 2012. Maybe I sensed an omen in the day. Prof. Barbara Ladd will give the plenary address, the state of the field address, on Friday midday, and on Saturday evening we’ll have a screening of Robert Altman’s film Nashville (1976). Several proposals have come in so far focusing on the film, so it seemed a natural to have a showing. Plans are still tentative for a Friday early evening event; I’ll let the members know when something is decided. But this is Music City, and I know that many of you will want to have evenings free to hit the music venues. We will supply as much local information about music, dining, and other opportunities as we can as the conference approaches.
The deadline for submission of proposals has been extended to December 15, 2011. That will give us all time to wrap us the semester’s work and submit a polished proposal.
I hope to be able to present the C. Hugh Holman Award for “the best book in southern literary scholarship or literary criticism” at the conference in March. The committee this year is chaired by Chris Metress (Samford), and includes John Grammer (Sewanee) and Anthony Szczesiul (UMass-Lowell). We usually make the presentation at an SSSL session at MLA, but MLA is in Seattle in 2012 and that feels almost like another planet. So we’ll make an effort to do it in Nashville at the conference in March, 2012. MLA is in Boston in 2013, and we could go back to the tradition of making the presentation at the national convention then, if the membership decides to.
Where and how to present the Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Prize for the outstanding journal article in southern studies by a member of SSSL is open for discussion. MLA is a possibility and so is ALA. This is a new award; 2013 will be the first presentation. It is the suggestion of David Davis (Mercer University). I will assemble a subcommittee of the Executive Committee to function as judges. Keep your eyes open: nominations must come from the members of SSSL.
Don’t worry about MLA chucking us out either. Thanks to Anthony Wilson (LaGrange College), we have been re-certified as an allied organization for another seven years.
Well, that’s the news from SSSL, where alliteration is cool.
To remain current and continue receiving SSSL updates, please renew your membership. Send this membership form to Kathryn McKee with a check for $20 for tenured and tenure-track faculty or $10 for instructors, graduate students, or retired faculty.
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Coleman Hutchison is Assistant Professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin. His literary history of the Civil War South, Apples and Ashes: Literature, Nationalism, and the Confederate States of America, is forthcoming in March 2012 from the University of Georgia Press.
2011 marks the beginning of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. Perhaps you’ve heard tell? Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine that anyone could have missed the point. Witness the 7 April cover of Time Magazine (“Why We’re Still Fighting the Civil War”), or debates in Virginia and Texas about how to acknowledge the twinned memories of slavery and the Confederacy. What about PBS’s rebroadcasting of Ken Burns’s The Civil War, or the New York Times’s punishingly prolific “Disunion”blog? Lincoln flicks are now coming “fast and furious.” While Robert Redford’s The Conspirator didn’t last long in theaters, Steven Spielberg’s hugely ambitious biopic promises to dominate next year’s box office. This is to say nothing of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which is now in post-production. To crib a line from Coleridge, it is Civil War, Civil War everywhere…
Of course the Civil War is perpetually in the main currents of American thought. To take but one example, James McPherson estimates that there have been nearly 60,000 Civil War related books or pamphlets published since 1865. If you are keeping score at home, that’s a publication rate of a book a day, every day, since the cessation of hostilities. As with the “founding fathers” and Shakespeare, there is a robust publishing industry at work here, one that ensures that the Civil War is never far from mind—whether or not one teaches and writes about southern literature. Nonetheless, the next fours years of sesquicentennial celebration will grant the war particular cultural visibility.
For many of us, anniversaries like sesquicentennials are odd affairs. (The 2012 SSSL meeting in Nashville, which is being usefully organized around the theme of “Anniversaries,” will no doubt bring some of that oddity to light.) On the one hand, anniversaries with nice round numbers often draw public attention to academic debates, giving scholars an opportunity to take part in broader discussions. Yet such popular discussions often produce no small amount of nostalgia and romanticism—with and without the help of the professoriate. This is a particular problem with the American Civil War. As the historian David W. Blight has quipped, the Civil War “remains very difficult to shuck from its shell of sentimentalism” (Race and Reunion 4). It is indeed quite easy to find oneself waxing poetic about the “epic” character of the war, its “extraordinary” events, and “profound” meanings for democracy. Alas, many of us end up sounding a whole lot more like Shelby Foote than we’d like to think.
While we need not toe the Faulknerian line, with the war figured as a “stupid and bloody aberration in the high (and impossible) destiny of the United States,” one hopes that the next four years will occasion some careful, public reflection about this vexed period in American history. Surely the sesquicentennial can help us to rethink historiographical assumptions, engage more closely the ever-present legacies of slavery and emancipation, and tell the stories of the Civil War without recourse to either American or southern exceptionalism. Having spent the past few years writing a literary history of the Confederacy, I’m pleased to report that the early action is promising on all these fronts. In the following columns, I want to survey recent work in the fields of Confederate and Civil War history. In doing so, I hope to highlight particular opportunities for research and pedagogical innovation in and around southern literary studies.
In 1988, Drew Gilpin Faust posed an urgent rhetorical question: “If southern nationalism is to be dismissed, how then explain the birth of the Confederacy and its willingness to fight four years of the bloodiest warfare then known to mankind?” (The Creation of Confederate Nationalism 4). In response to Faust’s provocation, historians have begun to take seriously Confederate nationalism. The result is a much more nuanced understanding of political and intellectual life in the Civil War South. For instance, Stephanie McCurry’s award-winning Confederate Reckoning fundamentally revises our understanding of politics in the Confederate States. The culmination of some two decades of research, the book views the Confederacy “from the bottom up,” with an emphasis on the place of slaves and white, non-slaveholding women in the new, antidemocratic republic. In doing so, McCurry identifies several fatal flaws in the Confederate nationalist project; she also usefully locates the C.S.A. in a broader, international context.
McCurry’s book is a ready complement to Victoria Bynum’s The Long Shadow of the Civil War, which also forces us to acknowledge the problems of dissent and diversity in the Confederacy. Bynum, in turn, pairs well with Robert E. Bonner, whose recent study, Mastering America, offers an alternative history of sorts. In Bonner’s telling, Confederate nationalism grew out of an earlier movement by “proslavery nationalists” who advocated for an American empire that would have chattel slavery at its center, not its margins. Bonner is particularly good at showing how this “Master Class” helped to shape Confederate national ideology and condition the forms of dissent that Bynum describes. As a result, Mastering America offers a compelling account of the gestation that preceded the “birth of the Confederacy.”
Michael T. Bernath’s prodigiously researched intellectual history, Confederate Minds, takes a very different approach to the problem of southern nationalism. In documenting their struggles for intellectual and cultural autonomy, Bernath contextualizes Confederates’ repeated declarations of independence. He also reminds readers of the surprising wealth of materials that southerners produced during the war. The relative success of Confederate cultural nationalists to produce a “native literature” is, Bernath notes, “startling, almost unbelievable,” particularly in light of the recurrent scarcities and shortages they faced (152). Although his method of “reading” might prove maddening to literary critics—more is more on these pages—Bernath’s book will be of interest to anyone working on the literature of the nineteenth-century South.
McCurry’s and Bonner’s attention to the international aspects of the war speak to an emerging trend in Civil War historiography. Many recent studies aim to deprovincialize this purported “war between brothers,” relocating well outside a “house divided.” By emphasizing the ways the conflict implicated nations other than or in addition to the United and Confederate States, such scholarship admirably expands the mental map on which the American Civil War is played out. Needless to say, this work is also sympathetic with recent efforts to place the U.S. South in global, hemispheric, and transnational contexts. Exemplary in this regard is Matthew Pratt Guterl’s American Mediterranean: Southern Slaveholders in the Age of Emancipation, which has garnered a great deal of attention in nineteenth-century literary and cultural studies. As his title suggests, Guterlwants us to read the South comparatively, in relation to other slaveholding societies like those in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and Jamaica. Such a methodology goes a long way to debunking the exceptionality of southern slavery by resituating the “peculiar institution” in various historical and geographical frameworks.
Equally compelling is Howard Jones’s more traditional history, Blue & Gray Diplomacy, which offers the fullest account to date of Confederate and Union foreign relations during the war. Among other things, Jones reminds us of Europe’s keen interest in the outcome of this civil conflict. He also shows how diligently both sides worked in order to get other nations to answer the “American question”—that is, whether or not to recognize the Confederacy. Jones’s book is part of the Littlefield History of the American Civil War Era, a joint project of the University of North Carolina Press and the Littlefield Fund for Southern History at the University of Texas at Austin. By the end of the sesquicentennial, UNC Press will have published 16 Littlefield volumes, all of which will be penned by distinguished Civil War historians. (NB: If readers find Jones’s history a wee bit dry, they are advised to pick up Amanda Foreman’s lively page-turner, A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War.)
As the above suggests, slavery and emancipation remain crucially important to scholarship on the Civil War era. This is as it should be. We have come a very long way from the heyday of the Dunning school and “moonlight and magnolias” historiography. Just ask Steven Hahn, who won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for A Nation under Our Feet, his definitive history of black political struggle in the South. In the wake of the Pulitzer, Hahn was invited to give the 2007 Nathan I. Huggins Lectures at Harvard University, which have been recently published as The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom. Far from a simple rehash of A Nation under Our Feet, this brisk book demands that historians rethink the periodization of emancipation; recast the Civil War as a slave insurrection; and reimagine the efficacy of grassroots political movements. With no small amount of swagger, Hahn makes a number of forceful interventions here. For instance, his second chapter, “Did We Miss the Greatest Slave Rebellion in Modern History?”, asks that we account for the roughly half a million slaves who fled to Union lines during the war. If that’s not a slave rebellion, he asks, what is?
All of the above histories have a great deal to offer to southern literary studies. But southern literary scholarship also has a great deal to offer southern history. Indeed, the relationship between southern history and southern literary studies could be—to my mind, at least—a bit more reciprocal. This is particularly the case with the study of Civil War memory, which became a hot topic following the publication of David W. Blight’s magisterial Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001). Enlivened by theories of collective or cultural memory, historians have written extensively on the memory of specific Civil War events or people; reburial efforts, monuments, and statuary; memorial holidays and reenactment culture; even film, fiction, and the like. Perhaps predictably, the study of Civil War memory was even entered the “meta” stage: In September 2011, Blight published American Oracle, a fascinating study of the Civil War Centennial (1961-1965) and the ways that Robert Penn Warren, Bruce Catton, Edmund Wilson, and James Baldwin brought the Civil War era into close conversation with the Civil Rights era. (Yes, we are beginning to mark and study the anniversaries of anniversaries.)
Yet despite its interdisciplinary object, the study of Civil War memory remains frustratingly disciplinary, with historians hogging a great deal of the sandbox. (See, for instance, Alice Fahs and Joan Waugh’s otherwise terrific collection, The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture, which includes nary a literary critic.) Moreover, with a couple of notable exceptions, literary critics have largely ceded the playground to historians. This is, I hold, a missed opportunity for American literary studies in general and southern literary studies in particular. After all, the relations between history and memory are at the heart of much southern literature. Given the subfield’s ongoing and very productive engagements with writers like Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Ellen Glasgow, William Faulkner, and Barry Hannah, among many others, southern literary studies should clearly be invited to play.
I’ll close by citing another missed opportunity, one that I’ve been lamenting for a while now. Very few literary critics have written about the literature of the Civil War South. To date, it is cultural and intellectual historians like Alice Fahs and Michael T. Bernath who have done the lion’s share of the “recovery work” on Confederate literature. We now know that the Confederacy produced no small amount of fascinating and quite troubling literature. But books like Julia Stern’s much-lauded new study of Mary Chesnut’s “Civil War Epic” and Ritchie D. Watson’s treatment of race mythology in the Civil War South are too few and too far between. As a result of this critical neglect, no fewer than three generations of very talented literary critics—Edmund Wilson (1962), Daniel Aaron (1973), and, most recently, Randall Fuller (2011)—have published ambitious studies of the literature of the American Civil War that seriously slight the Confederate South. Then again, the neglect of Confederate literature may be in keeping with a broader neglect of nineteenth-century southern literature. For all its transformative critical energies, the “New Southern Studies” seems to have drawn our attention away from earlier periods. Perhaps the sesquicentennial and the inspiring work of scholars in related fields can bring us back once again to the Civil War.
Suggestions for further reading:
Bernath, Michael T. Confederate Minds: The Struggle for Intellectual Independence in the Civil War South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
Blight, David W. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2001.
—. American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011.
Bonner, Robert E. Mastering America: Southern Slaveholders and the Crisis of American Nationhood. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Bynum, Victoria E. The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
Civil War Memory http://cwmemory.com/
Duck, Leigh Anne. “Plantation/Empire.” CR: The New Centennial Review 10.1 (2010): 77-87.
Fahs, Alice, and Joan Waugh, eds. The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
Foreman, Amanda. A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War. New York: Random House, 2010.
Fuller, Randall. From Battlefields Rising: How the Civil War Transformed American Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Fulton, Joe B. The Reconstruction of Mark Twain: How a Confederate Bushwhacker Became the Lincoln of Our Literature. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010.
Griffin, Martin. Ashes of the Mind: War and Memory in Northern Literature, 1865-1900. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2009.
Guterl, Matthew Pratt. American Mediterranean: Southern Slaveholders in the Age of Emancipation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008.
Hanh, Steven. The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.
Jones, Howard. Blue & Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
McCurry, Stephanie. Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010.
New York Times Disunion http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/disunion/
Rogers, Molly. Delia’s Tears: Race, Science, and Photography in Nineteenth-Century America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010.
Stern, Julia A. Mary Chesnut’s Civil War Epic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Watson, Ritchie Devon, Jr. Normans and Saxons: Southern Race Mythology and the Intellectual History of the American Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008.
Margaret D. Bauer is the Rives Chair of Southern Literature at East Carolina University and, since 1997, has served as Editor of the North Carolina Literary Review. Her current book project is A Study in Scarlett: Scarlett O’Hara’s Literary Daughters.
SSSL: This year marks the 75th anniversary of the book Gone with the Wind, and it has occasioned commemorative events, a new documentary, and renewed public interest in the book. Why do you think the book was so popular when it was first published, and why do you think the book continues to be popular?
Bauer: In response to the first part of this question, quite simply, it is a compelling read, and it has many of the elements of popular romance novels with the addition of an untraditional ending that results in the need to talk about it—hence its popularity with the original readers. It also came out during the Depression and depicted a family fall from prosperity and rise again—which also partly why it continues to be popular. Scarlett O’Hara, the person responsible for the family’s survival, is a provocative character. She, too, is untraditional, and readers continue to be fascinated by her.
SSSL: Is the film more culturally significant than the book?
Bauer: That is an interesting question—now, most likely yes, though when the movie came out, its audience had read the novel. The last time I included this novel on a syllabus, the only students who had read the book or seen the movie already were older, non-traditional students, but even those students who had not seen the movie knew what all the characters looked like (in the movie). Those images have certainly found their way into popular culture.
SSSL: The most common criticisms of the book are that it romanticizes the Old South and that it uses racist stereotypes. How do you respond to those criticisms?
Bauer: I do not find the novel very romantic from the woman’s perspective either. The movie can’t capture this, but one of my favorite scenes is at the Wilkes picnic when Scarlett notices how the new brides have to sit with the old ladies, all wearing drab colors and having to talk about such topics as childbirth, childcare, and housekeeping, “for there were no married belles in the South.” Long before Elizabeth Fox-Genovese’s book In the Plantation Household, Margaret Mitchell had shown in her novel the hard work for the wife of the plantation owner—while her husband did not seem to have to work at all. Ellen O’Hara works herself to an early death, accepting stoically that her “life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was woman’s lot. It was a man’s world, and she accepted it as such.”
The racist descriptions of African American characters are undeniable. Mitchell employed the tropes of her day, and I don’t think one can defend that. My focus on this novel has been on defending Scarlett, who gets a bad rap in the movie’s abbreviation of the novel. I focus on how Scarlett develops in the course of events in the novel, and one thing about her that I have noticed is that she is as critical of Melanie as she is of Prissy, albeit for different reasons. She slaps Prissy, but so too does she slap her own (white) sister at another point in the novel. She tries to manipulate Mammy, yes—just as she does her father. Scarlett is not one with double standards.
Here’s another example. She is raised on a plantation with slave labor, and she does not see the problem with using convict labor that Ashley sees. One might be reminded of Thomas Sutpen modeling his design after what he saw, thus without any of those idealized codes of honor that Quentin Compson would like to think are inherent in the old family dynasties. And speaking of Faulkner, Mitchell, like Faulkner, does much in the background she creates for Gerald O’Hara (something else that the movie leaves out) to dispel myths of the nobility of the Southern aristocracy.
SSSL: Is the southern belle a demeaning icon in the era of third-wave feminism? Could she be empowering?
Bauer: I don’t think the southern belle is an empowering figure in any era of feminism. As a belle, Scarlett is still a spoiled child, definitely earning the criticism she so often receives. But remember, Scarlett did not go from belle to lady, as her sister-in-law Melanie and her mother did. And speaking of southern ladies, I don’t find Melanie, the epitome of the southern lady, to be an empowering icon, though I do admire her for accepting and loving Scarlett for who she is. Nor do I find Ellen O’Hara as admirable as even Scarlett does. Ellen has been turned by the system into a very unloving, unaffectionate, unhappy mother/woman—pitiable, but not admirable. Most of the admirable southern women in history and popular culture are not (traditionally) lady-like.
SSSL: How do you teach the book? Do you find its length prohibitive? How should it be contextualized?
Bauer: I have only taught it the one time, I’m afraid, in a graduate class. Yes, the length is prohibitive, and yet it is the full novel that is necessary, I think, to appreciating Scarlett—the film adaptation’s truncated view of her has resulted, I believe, in her bad reputation in popular culture.
I have taught sections of women’s literature in which we’ve read novels with Scarlett-like characters, the books I am using in my book on Scarlett and her literary sisters—for example, Ellen Glasgow’s Barren Ground, Toni Morrison’s Sula, and a new, relatively unknown novel by eastern North Carolina writer Kat Meads, The Invented Life of Kitty Duncan (Benedict Roberts Duncan) by Kat Meads. For contrast with Scarlett and to better understand how these characters are wrongly condemned, in the classroom, I have included Ron Rash’s Serena, the title character of which is evil—not a misunderstood ambitious woman condemned merely for her untraditional behavior but an evil, power-hungry one. There is nothing sympathetic or admirable about Serena. Unfortunately for the overall plan for this class, I cannot assume that students have read Gone with the Wind—or even seen it. Few students age 18-25 have (we only have an M.A. program here).
SSSL: Considering that Gone with the Wind is one of the most famous southern novels of the twentieth century, why do you think it is the subject of so little scholarship?
Bauer: There is more than you might think, actually. An MLA Bibliography search results in 88 hits, which is significantly fewer than the 513 citations that result from the same search for Absalom, Absalom!, but did you know that searching the MLA Bibliography for To Kill a Mockingbird results in only 58 hits? As I read the original MLA search results, I found numerous more citations of articles that discuss the film.
None of that, I realize, answers your question. The answer is probably simply academic snobbery. It was a popular novel, so it must not be worth critical exploration. But those who have given their time to it—and that includes such feminist luminaries as Jane Tompkins, southern literary scholars like Anne Goodwyn Jones, and historians like Elizabeth Fox-Genovese—have not condemned it. I have enjoyed too the books on this novel (published by university presses, incidentally) that delve into the popular response, even as they provide insightful critical readings—Helen Taylor’sScarlett’s Women (Rutger’s UP) and more recently Molly Haskell’s Frankly, My Dear (Yale UP).
SSSL: Do you personally like the book?
Bauer: Absolutely. I unapologetically and unashamedly love this novel (the music is my cell phone’s ringtone). I see the novel’s flaws—and love it anyway. I see Scarlett’s flaws—and remind readers that she is 16 when the novel opens and 28 when it closes. At 16, before marrying, women of her class, region, and time were sheltered—if they recognized what their mothers’ lives were like, they’d never consent to being married off! But once she has to face the realities of life Scarlett steps up and takes charge, with very little nostalgia for what is “gone with the wind”—at least not the ideals. The money, yes, she does regret the loss of the money, but if she were analytical, she’d recognize that her personality is much better suited for the post-war South than the Old South. She loses everyone she loves in the course of this novel and is still standing, ready to face tomorrow, when it ends. Her husband, several years older than she, is broken by the loss of their child—the first person he’s ever lost. I certainly don’t condemn him for grief over the loss of a child, but I do admire her for her resilience.
SSSL: In the era of New Southern Studies, globalization, and postmodernism, do you think the book should be part of the discourse on southern literature?
Bauer: It is interesting to read articles that have addressed how this novel has been embraced in, for example, Vietnam (in Southern Cultures 2005). But frankly, on this subject, I think along the lines of Alice Walker’s defense of her focus on domestic abuse (more so than on black/white relations) in The Color Purple. My defense of Gone with the Wind has much to do with noting how Scarlett is condemned (still) for behavior that would have been acceptable from a man (indeed, Rhett behaves similarly and is generally admired—sadly, largely for supposedly putting Scarlett in her place). While scholarly attention may have broadened to exploring global issues in southern literature, for example, I hope that will not preclude further discussion of the continued oppression of/limitations for women in the South. The situation has not improved enough since Scarlett’s day for southern women who are ambitious, speak out, fail to fit the “Mother Woman” mold, etc. etc. Feminist issues are still worth exploring—as is the issue of race relations at home, even as we turn attention abroad as well. Assertive women are labeled “bitches.” We are too often expected to put on our ladylike masks before we give our opinions (which are expected to be politely watered down). I’ve watched two women at my university who should have moved up the ranks to administrative positions passed over time and again, so obviously because they speak their (brilliant) minds without self-censoring, discomforting faculty as well as the administration. These women are repeatedly asked to serve on committees to do the hard work that benefits from their talents and insights, but thus far have been passed over for awards that usually recognize such service and for administrative appointments. I won’t even go into my own experience with one administrator who did not apparently appreciate a woman candidly speaking her mind and openly questioning his actions.
Instead, I would like to share with SSSL readers my Gone with the Wind story related to one woman who always spoke her mind, my mentor Dorothy Scura, who made me read Gone with the Wind. When I was her student, I told Dorothy that I saw the movie in the 8th grade as it was making its last round through theatres before going to cable, and I was so upset by the ending that after coming home and reading the last chapter in my mother’s copy of the novel, finding it no more comforting, vowed never to read the book. Not one to avoid discomforting someone if she thought it was good for that person, she threatened to include on my southern literature doctoral exam questions involving Will Benteen and Scarlett’s children (plural?, I thought, knowing only of Bonnie Blue). Clearly my still vivid recollection of the movie was not going to suffice. I don’t remember if my exam included any reference to this novel, but I am glad she pushed me to read the novel. The book has haunted me ever since, but Scarlett’s survival—for 75 years now—gives me hope that pushy women will eventually be recognized for their leadership qualities rather than criticized for what essentially boils down to being considered unwomanly. Readers may think they are turned off by Scarlett’s behavior, but apparently they are also intrigued. And when the enemy threatens, every man, woman, and child does turn to her (not to her father) to protect and feed them.
Society for the Study of Southern Literature, Nashville, TN, March 29 – April 1, 2012
Plenary Speaker: Barbara Ladd (Emory University)
Coming amid the organized commotion surrounding the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the theme for the 2012 conference is “Anniversaries.”
The SSSL Program Committee seeks abstracts for individual papers, proposals for sessions, and themes for roundtables that encompass related works from the most private form of “anniversaries” (marriages, births, deaths, divorces etc.) to the most public (commemorations, celebrations, festivals, and so on in southern writing, film, etc.). The movement for a New Southern Studies celebrated ten years at an MLA session in January, 2011, suggesting that critical and theoretical movements have reasons to think of anniversaries too. We might, then, have sessions of self-analysis—but a little shy of out and out narcissism on the one hand and hair-shirt penance on the other. Those whose focus is the global South might explore African, Caribbean, French, Spanish, and other non-U.S. legacies in southern forms of commemorations such as funerals and Mardi Gras.
2012 is at or near the publication anniversaries of some pivotal southern texts: Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, C. Vann Woodward’s The Burden of Southern History, Warren’s The Legacy of the Civil War. Patsy Cline was queen in the early 1960s: “Crazy,” “She’s Got You,” and “I Fall to Pieces” were all released in 1961 and 1962. Harlan Howard, who wrote many of Patsy’s songs, is buried in Nashville City Cemetery not too far from one of Lee’s generals, Richard Ewell. The film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird was released in 1962, as was Intruder (not in the Dust) directed by Roger Corman and starring William Shatner. 2012 is also 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Possibilities range widely, crossing disciplines and media.
Abstracts (250-500 words) for individual papers and session proposals are due by December 15, 2011 to the Program Committee: Michael Kreyling (Vanderbilt University) firstname.lastname@example.org; Gary Richards (University of Mary Washington) email@example.com; Tara Powell (University of South Carolina) firstname.lastname@example.org; or Daniel Cross Turner (Coastal Carolina University) email@example.com. For session proposals, please list the topics and titles of the papers and an explanation of how these papers fit together as well as a standard abstract from each potential panel member.
The conference will be held at the Scarritt-Bennett Center (see www.scarrittbennett.org) on Thursday and Friday, and at Vanderbilt University on Saturday. Keynote and Plenary sessions will be held on the Vanderbilt campus. I chose Scarritt-Bennett because of cost and convenience; as a converted college, it offers very reasonably-priced, renovated dorm rooms. Visit their website and take the virtual tour. We’ve set aside a block of fifty of these rooms, but more are available if demand is high and if you make reservations early (i.e. before the end of February, 2012). Fifty rooms are also blocked at the Embassy Suites Hotel at $139 per night, with a deadline of March 5, 2012, for reservations. SSSL needs to book at least these fifty rooms or we’ll pay a penalty. So if you can afford it, plan to stay there. The Embassy Suites Vanderbilt (1811 Broadway, Nashville, TN—don’t confuse this hotel with the one at the Nashville airport) is a full-service hotel within walking distance of Vanderbilt University and Scarritt-Bennett. The route leads through Vanderbilt’s “college town” of cafés and restaurants. A few blocks farther west, past the Vanderbilt Medical Center, is Hillsboro Village, a local student hangout with bars, coffee shops, banks, restaurants, a used bookstore, an indie cinema (www.belcourt.org)—just about all you could hope for when you need relief from the conference.
Nashville is, of course, Music City. We’ll have a guide to performance venues when you check in. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is downtown, as is the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. THE Parthenon is a longer walk, across the campus and West End Avenue in Centennial Park, but worth the trek.
2011-2012 as a transition year for SSSL. Elections are underway to replace several members of the Executive Committee. The Holman Book Prize Committee is reconstituted for this year. The website is on the move. We have a new editor of the newsletter, David Davis of Mercer U. Sarah Gleeson-White has served faithfully and generously; we’ll toast her in Nashville next year.
Society for the Study of Southern Literature Sessions, American Literature Association Conference, May 24-27, 2012, San Francisco
“Urban Landscapes in Southern Literature”: The Society for the Study of Southern Literature issues a call for papers for one or more ALA sessions considering urban landscapes in southern literature for the 2012 American Literature Association Conference in San Francisco. All relevant proposals will be considered, but special attention will be given to proposals focusing on literary representations of sense of place in specific iconic southern cities, such as New Orleans, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Charleston, New Orleans, Savannah, and others. Relevant creative work is also welcomed. The conference will be held May 24-27, 2012, at the Hyatt Regency in Embarcadero Center. Please email abstracts and either a cover letter or 2-page CV by January 15, 2012, to Tara Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about these sessions or SSSL, please contact Tara Powell, or for information about the conference, consult the ALA website atwww.americanliterature.org.
“Southern Necrologies”: The Society for the Study of Southern Literature issues a call for papers for ALA sessions considering southern literary accounts of death and deathways, including (but not limited to) forms of southern haunting and horror, for the 2012 American Literature Association Conference in San Francisco. All relevant proposals on multiethnic, hemispheric, global, and/or U.S. southern writers and writings will be considered, but special attention will be given to proposals that a) explore “southern necrologies” in the plural or b) uncouple “southern” and “gothic” in the interests of developing more expansive notions of southern horror. Relevant creative work is also welcomed. The conference will be held May 24-27, 2012, at the Hyatt Regency in Embarcadero Center. Please email abstracts and either a cover letter or 2-page CV by January 15, 2012, to Eric Gary Anderson at email@example.com. For further information about these sessions or SSSL, please contact Tara Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org or Eric Anderson, or for information about the conference, consult the ALA website at www.americanliterature.org.
Society for the Study of Southern Literature Session, Rocky Mountain MLA, Boulder, CO, October 11-13
Teaching Southern Writers: The Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association invites submissions to an annual SSSL roundtable session on practical approaches to teaching southern writers at their 2012 convention. All genres and time periods considered. Submit proposals of up to 350 words and a brief cover letter or CV to Tara Powell email@example.com by March 1. RMMLA features a number of additional sessions of interest to scholars of southern literature, including a regular session on southern literature and a regular session on Flannery O’Connor, among others. For more information about RMMLA or calls for papers in other areas, see www.rmmla.org.
Society for the Study of Southern Literature Session, South Atlantic MLA, Raleigh, NC, November 9-11
Failure of imagination? Authorial Identity and Racial Depiction: The popularity of the novel and film versions of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help has drawn attention to cross-racial depictions of characters in southern texts. Discussions of texts likeThe Help, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Kaye Gibbons’s Ellen Foster, Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Goophered Grapevine, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, Zora Neale Hurston’s Seraph on the Suwanee, and William Faulkner’s Intruder in the Dust raise questions about the depiction African American characters by white authors or, conversely, of white characters by African American authors. Papers for this panel might explore approaches to cross-racial depictions in texts from diverse southern authors; papers examining films are also welcome. By June 1, 2012, please submit abstracts to Sharon Colley, Macon State College, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eudora Welty Society Sessions, American Literature Association, San Francisco, CA, May 24-27 2012
Approaches to Teaching Eudora Welty: While the stories of Eudora Welty continue to be included in the most popular American literature anthologies, many instructors find her works challenging to teach. We welcome papers on a wide range of topics related to teaching. Possible topics might be specific teaching strategies that have worked for you, including successful class activities, contextual material such as the photographs that can be used in the classroom, and other resources that students find helpful. Which stories/novels/essays do you teach, and do you pair Welty with other authors? We welcome papers addressing a wide range of student audiences from freshmen to graduate students and a variety of classes. You might also consider which theoretical approaches to Welty’s works prove helpful for students. Please send inquiries and statements of intent, as soon as possible, and titled paper proposals of 500 words by December 15, 2011 to Mae Miller Claxton, Western Carolina University, at email@example.com.
One Writer’s Secrets: Eudora Welty: Welty’s fiction is full of secrets, familial and otherwise: what’s in Aunt Studney’s sack? why were Mama and Papa Beecham running away from home and children in the middle of the night? what is it that Katie Rainey doesn’t want her husband to know at the end of “Shower of Gold”? Many of Welty’s characters deliberately withhold information about themselves, perhaps even from themselves: Virgie Rainey, we’re told, “had felt a moment in life after which nobody could see through her, into her.” In another vein, scholars have long been intrigued by One Writer’s Beginnings‘ numerous resonances with the autobiographical content of The Optimist’s Daughter. The sudden astonishing availability of thousands of items of Welty’s personal and professional correspondence raises the possibility that we may discover a lot more autobiographical content in the fiction if we read carefully enough and know how and where to look. The italicized narrative at the beginning of One Writer’s Beginnings, for example, is a tantalizing, even if fictional, quintessence of autobiographical tease that suggests but may not fully reveal the triangulating domestic chemistry in the Welty household, and Welty’s position in it. Is this a factual memory of her own childhood or a parable that both reveals and conceals something important about families? About herself? What’s secret, here and elsewhere? What does Welty mean when she says in her memoir that “one secret is liable to be revealed in the place of another that is harder to tell”? This panel invites papers that explore the presence, function and meanings of secrets of all kinds in Welty’s writing. How might a focus on such secrets lead us to deeper understanding of her life and work? Please send inquiries and statements of intent, as soon as possible, and titled paper proposals of 500 words by December 15, 2011 to Noel Polk at Nepolk@aol.com.
Welty Society Graduate Student Travel Award: Applications are requested for graduate students presenting papers at the American Literature Association conference in San Francisco, California May 24-27, 2012 at a Eudora Welty Society session. The recipient will receive $250, intended for conference expenses. Graduate students who wish to be considered should submit current CVs, paper proposals, and documentation of acceptance to one of the Welty panels at the conference. Letters of recommendation from EWS members are welcomed. Deadline Jan. 31, 2012. Submit applications electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Faulknerian Anniversaries,” William Faulkner Society at Society for the Study of Southern Literature, Nashville, Tennessee, March 29-April 1, 2012
In light of SSSL’s “Anniversaries” theme for 2012, the William Faulkner Society invites 20-minute papers that explore the making or the marking of significant anniversaries, milestone events, lieux or milieux de mémoire, or rituals of commemoration within the Faulkner oeuvre, with particular attention to the cultural and political work of memory at stake in such practices. Comparative treatments of specific Faulkner texts or of Faulkner and other writers are welcome. Send 500-word abstracts or complete session proposals by December 1 via email attachment to Jay Watson,email@example.com. No WordPerfect attachments, please!
Comparative Approaches to Faulkner and Fitzgerald: A Symposium, American Literature Association, San Francisco, California, May 24-27, 2012
The William Faulkner Society and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society are collaborating to organize a symposium on the two writers at the American Literature Association’s 2012 convention in San Francisco, May 24-27, 2012. We are looking for six to nine scholars to present work that pursues comparative approaches to these pivotal twentieth-century literary artists. The papers will be presented over consecutive ALA sessions and at the discretion of the organizers may form the basis of an edited collection of essays on the two writers.
Topics could include, but are by no means limited to:
• positioning the two writers within diverse, competing, or overlapping modernisms (“high,” ethnic, nativist, sentimental, etc.)
• questions of gender and sexuality, including explorations of masculinity and male friendship
• family ecology: representations and/or life experiences of childhood, marriage, parenthood
• alcoholism and mental illness in the life and work of the artist
• questions of print culture: relationships with editors, agents, mentors, publishing houses; writing for the “slicks”
• writing for and/or about Hollywood; issues of film adaptation
• issues of critical reception and popular reputation
• approaches to teaching Faulkner and Fitzgerald in the graduate, undergraduate, or secondary school classroom
300-500-word proposals for 20-minute papers should be submitted electronically to Maggie Gordon Froehlich, Department of English, Pennsylvania State University, Hazelton (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Jay Watson, Department of English, University of Mississippi (email@example.com) by Monday, January 2, 2012.
Open Call, American Literature Association, San Francisco, California, May 24-27, 2012
We invite proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspect of Faulkner’s work. Comparative and pedagogical approaches are welcome. 300-500-word abstracts should be submitted electronically to Jay Watson, Department of English, University of Mississippi (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Monday, January 9, 2012.
Faulkner at West Point: The Writer in Public, United States Military Academy, April 19-21, 2012
In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of William Faulkner’s historic visit to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he made one of his last public appearances, the USMA Department of English and Philosophy hosts its second-ever William Faulkner conference. We invite proposals for twenty-minute panel papers, for organized panels, and for roundtable sessions or discussions.
All critical approaches to William Faulkner, including theoretical and pedagogical, are welcomed. We are particularly interested in his negotiations with the public, and with class, gender, sexuality, race, religion, law, nationalism, empire, and popular culture. We also seek papers, organized panels, and roundtable sessions on teaching Faulkner, that consider Faulkner in dialogue with fellow writers, or that look at Faulkner from an interdisciplinary stance. In addition to the panel sessions, the conference will include plenary addresses by noted Faulkner scholars.
For organized panel sessions and for roundtable discussions, please provide a title, brief description (100 words), and names of presenters. For paper proposals, please provide 250-300 word abstracts. All submissions and inquiries should be directed to Scott T. Chancellor at email@example.com or (845) 938-5922, by December 16, 2011.
William Faulkner Society Sessions, Modern Language Association, Boston, MA, January 2013
Faulkner and Hemingway: Changing the Game: Comparative approaches to the two writers taking the conversation beyond “rivalry.” Submissions welcome on modernity, sexuality, gender, genre, transnationalism, the environment, print culture, adaptations. 500-word abstracts by 1 March 2012 to Jay Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sara Kosiba (email@example.com)
Faulkner’s Publics: Interactions between Faulkner and diverse public constituencies during his lifetime and afterward. Issues of readership, celebrity, the predicament of the public intellectual, and the fraught role of “spokesperson.” 300-500-word abstracts or 20-minute papers to Jay Watson, U of Mississippi (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 1 March 2012.
Fictions of Power: Faulkner and Energy: How and where does Faulkner engage the energy ecologies of the modern era? What power sources or paradigms “fuel” Yoknapatawpha, and how do they inform its society, culture, and politics? 300-500-word abstracts or 20-minute papers to Jay Watson, U of Mississippi (email@example.com) by 1 March 2012.
Southern Writers, Southern Writing Graduate Student Conference, Oxford, MS, July 12-14, 2012
The Graduate Students in the Departments of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi invite you to submit abstracts exploring southern culture for the 18th annual Southern Writers, Southern Writing graduate student conference held in conjunction with the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference. Accepted submissions will be presented in Oxford, Mississippi, July 12-14, 2012. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Suzanne Mars, Eudora Welty scholar and official Welty biographer.
Topics for papers or panels are not restricted to literature. They may include: Ecocriticism, travel narratives, nature writing, and the southern landscape; Religion, gothic, and the grotesque; Folklore, material culture, and communityLetters, diaries, and cookbooks; Oral culture, music, and food representation in southern culture and literature; The South in global contexts; Race, gender, class, and identity. We also invite creative writers to submit poetry, short stories, or novel excerpts that deal with Southern themes.
Please send 200–300 word abstracts of critical work or entire creative works to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Reading limit is 15 minutes. Please include your summer address and e-mail address with your submission. The deadline for submissions is April 2, 2012.
Faulkner and Warren: A Conference Sponsored by the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, October 25-27, 2012
This “Faulkner and Warren” conference invites proposals for twenty-minute papers on any topic related to William Faulkner and/or Robert Penn Warren. All critical approaches, including theoretical and pedagogical, are welcomed. We are particularly interested in inter-textual approaches and papers treating such topics as race, gender, class, history, politics, war, religion, humor, and technique. Proposals for organized panels are also encouraged.
In addition to the paper sessions, the conference will include a keynote address by a noted scholar, a dramatic presentation based on the works of Faulkner and Warren, exhibits from the University’s Faulkner and Warren collections, and a guided tour of the historical downtown Cape Girardeau and riverfront. Expanded versions of the papers will be considered for possible publication in a collection of essays to be published by Southeast Missouri State University Press.
E-mail a 250-word abstract by May 31, 2012, to email@example.com. Inquiries should be directed to Robert Hamblin firstname.lastname@example.org or (573) 651-2628, or Christopher Rieger at email@example.com or (573) 651-2620.
Ninth Biennial Southern Women Writers Conference, Berry College, Rome, GA, September 20-23, 2012
Since its inception in 1994, the Southern Women Writers Conference has been devoted to showcasing the works of well-known and emerging U.S. southern women writers, expanding the literary canon, and developing critical and theoretical understandings of the tradition of southern women’s writing.
Due to reduced resources, this will be the last SWWC, at least for the foreseeable future. In keeping with this milestone, and with the knowledge that all conclusions constitute new inceptions, our theme for the 2012 conference is “Beginnings and Endings.” Through their writing, southern women past and present have addressed both literal and metaphorical “beginnings’ and “endings” in a variety of ways. The theme certainly conjures up images of births, deaths, and rebirths and the emotions often associated with those images: joy, excitement, sadness, grief, anxiety, hesitancy, a sense of freedom, relief, hope. And while positive feelings are usually associated with beginnings and negative ones with endings, is this always the case? Might endings be celebratory and beginnings sorrowful? To what degree might “newness” spring from passings? We invite critical and creative submissions that explore the full range of the conference theme explored by women in and of the South, including but not limited to:
- literary eras and genres
- writers’ careers, relationships, projects, and lives
- social and political institutions
- migrations and diasporas
- communities and ecosystems
- critical methodologies
- narrative forms
- canonical and non-canonical works of fiction, poetry, autobiography, creative nonfiction, and drama
- non-discursive works including film, photography, and other visual or performance arts
Critical Submissions: Please send 300-word abstracts or completed papers that can be read aloud in twenty minutes. If submitting a proposal for a panel, please include the names of participants and abstracts for individual papers. Male scholars are encouraged to participate.
Creative submissions: Please submit creative work (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or drama), appropriate to the conference’s thematic focus, for a twenty-minute reading. Authors should be women who meet at least one of the following criteria: were born in or grew up in the U.S. South; currently live in the U.S. South; write about the U.S. South.
All submissions should be postmarked no later than Monday, April 9, 2012 and may be sent via e-mail as attachments in MS Word format to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to: Southern Women Writers Conference; Berry College; Box 490350; Mt. Berry, GA 30149. Requests for multi-media equipment should accompany submissions. For more information, visit the conference website at http://www.berry.edu/academics/humanities/english/swwc/.
An Opportunity to Work on the Staff of the Award-Winning North Carolina Literary Review – Graduate Assistant Position(s) Available: The North Carolina Literary Review seeks editorial assistants. Students who apply to the master’s degree program in English at ECU should contact the editor, Margaret Bauer (BauerM@ecu.edu) if they would be interested in a graduate assistantship with NCLR. Faculty who have students interested in literary publishing (and in Southern writers), please direct your juniors and seniors to the information about ECU’s graduate program in English:www.ecu.edu/english.
Last call—did you miss our deadline? The North Carolina Literary Review will still consider submissions for the special feature section on North Carolina Literature into Film. Contact Editor Margaret Bauer immediately at BauerM@ecu.edu. As yet, no papers have been proposed on Cold Mountain, but all ideas are welcome.
East Carolina University Acquires Stuart Wright Collection
The J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, recently acquired the literary collection of Stuart Wright, a noted bibliographer and collector whose work focuses on southern poets and novelists. A native of North Carolina and a graduate of Wake Forest University, Wright currently lives in England. He is perhaps best known for his published bibliographies of such noted American writers as A. R. Ammons, James Dickey, Richard Eberhart, George Garrett, William Goyen, Randall Jarrell, Andrew Lytle, Walker Percy, and Reynolds Price. Wright developed close relationships with some of the writers represented in the collection.
The Wright Collection consists of more than 3,000 printed works and 5,000 manuscripts. Included are portions of the private libraries of Eberhart, who taught for many years at Dartmouth College, the English poet Donald Davie, and such southern writers as Jarrell, John Crowe Ransom, Peter Hillsman Taylor, and Robert Penn Warren, as well as first editions of books they wrote. Many of the books contain significant inscriptions, annotations, and insertions that shed light on the writers’ thought processes and their relationships with their peers. The collection also contains significant manuscript material, including notebooks, letters, and literary works by Madison Smartt Bell, Eberhart, Jarrell, Ransom, Taylor, and Warren.
Among the manuscripts are holograph letters written by Taylor to his wife during World War II, notebooks and a virtually complete collection of poems written by Jarrell, and Warren’s typescript of the screenplay (1949) for All the King’s Men. Other writers represented by books or manuscripts include Cleanth Brooks, Robert Lowell, Lytle, Merrill Moore, Katherine Anne Porter, William Styron, Allen Tate, and Eudora Welty.
Appraiser Lynn Roundtree of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, recently described the collection as “an extraordinary accumulation of rare first printings, association copies, authors’ copies, dedication copies, authors’ presentation copies, and literary papers of many of the finest American poets, novelists, and short story writers of the twentieth century.” Of particular note is the inclusion of materials by five poets laureate, making the collection of great value to students and scholars who will be able to see the creative process on display through the manuscripts and published works of these poets.
Preliminary inventories of the collection have been completed, and all materials are available for research in the library’s Manuscripts and Rare Books Department. The library recently published a sixteen-page overview of the collection, Stuart Wright: A Life in Collecting, which is available at no charge by sending a self-addressed, 7.5” x 10.5” envelope with $1.28 in postage to: Ms. Nanette Hardison, Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858.
African American Review
Benjamin, Shanna Greene. “Race, Faces, and False Fronts: Shakespearean Signifying in the Colored American Magazine.”African American Review 43.4 (2009): 621-631.
Daigle, Jonathan. “Paul Laurence Dunbar and the Marshall Circle: Racial Representation from Blackface to Black Naturalism.” African American Review 43.4 (2009): 633-654.
Dosset, Kate. “Staging the Garveyite Home: Black Masculinity, Failure, and Redemption in Theodore Ward’s Big White Fog.” African American Review 43.4 (2009): 557-576.
Engles, Tim. “African American Whiteness in Gloria Naylor’s Linden Hills.” African American Review 43.4 (2009): 661-679.
Mellard, James M. “”Families make the best enemies”: Paradoxes of Narcissistic Identification in Toni Morrison’s Love.”African American Review 43.4 (2009): 699-712.
Messmer, David. “Trumpets, Horns, and Typewriters: A Call and Response between Ralph Ellison and Frederick Douglass.”African American Review 43.4 (2009): 589-604.
Selzer, Linda. “Instruments More Perfect than Bodies: Romancing Uplift in Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist.” African American Review 43.4 (2009): 681-698.
American Literary History
Hoberek, Andrew. “Cormac McCarthy and the Aesthetics of Exhaustion.” American Literary History 23.3 (2011): 483-499.
Cooper, Tova. “The Scenes of Seeing: Frances Benjamin Johnston and Visualizations of the “Indian” in Black, White, and Native Educational Contexts.” American Literature 83.3 (2011): 509-545.
Selisker, Scott. ““Simply by Reacting?”: The Sociology of Race and Invisible Man‘s Automata.” American Literature 83.3 (2011): 571-596.
Trefzer, Annette. “Looking for the Real South: Regional, National, and Hemispheric Perspectives.” American Literature83.3 (2011): 649-659.
Fowler, Doreen. “Flannery O’Connor’s Productive Violence,” Arizona Quarterly 67.2 (Summer 2011): 127-54.
Drowne, Kathleen. ““Theah’s Life Anywheres Theah’s Booze and Jazz”: Home to Harlem and Gingertown in the Context of National Prohibition.” Callaloo 34.3 (2011): 928-942.
Henzy, Karl. “Langston Hughes’s Poetry and the Metaphysics of Simplicity.” Callaloo 34.3 (2011): 915-927.
Li, Stephanie. “Five Poems: The Gospel According to Toni Morrison.” Callaloo 34.3 (2011): 899-914.
Early American Literature
Apap, Chris. ““Let no man of us budge one step”: David Walker and the Rhetoric of African American Emplacement.”Early American Literature 46.2 (2011): 319-350.
Jarrett, Gene Andrew. ““To Refute Mr. Jefferson’s Arguments Respecting Us”: Thomas Jefferson, David Walker, and the Politics of Early African American Literature.” Early American Literature 46.2 (2011): 291-318.
Amende, Kathaleen. “A man with such an appearance was capable of anything”: Imaginary Rape and the Violent “Other” in Faulkner’s “Dry September” and Oz’s “Nomad and Viper.” Faulkner Journal 25.2 (2010): 9-22.
Joiner, Jennie J. “The Slow Burn of Masculinity in Faulkner’s Hearth and Morrison’s Oven.” Faulkner Journal 25.2 (2010): 53-68.
Rudnicki, Robert. “Turtles All the Way Down: Foundation, Edifice, and Ruin in Faulkner and McCarthy.” Faulkner Journal25.2 (2010): 23-52.
Tebbetts, Terrell L. “Discourse and Identity in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Swift’s Last Orders.” Faulkner Journal 25.2 (2010):69-88.
Cardon, Lauren S. “From Black Nationalism to the Ethnic Revival: Meridian‘s Lynne Rabinowitz.” MELUS 36.3 (2011): 159-185.
Fowler, Doreen. “‘Nobody Could Make It Alone’: Fathers and Boundaries in Toni Morrison’s Beloved.” MELUS 36.2 (Summer 2011): 13-33.
Ikard, David. “White Supremacy under Fire: The Unrewarded Perspective in Edward P. Jones’s The Known World.” MELUS36.3 (2011): 63-85.
Sugimori, Masami. “Narrative Order, Racial Hierarchy, and “White” Discourse in James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and Along This Way.” MELUS 36.3 (2011): 37-62.
Davis, David A. “I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang! and the Materiality of Southern Depravity.” Mississippi Quarterly63.3-4 (2010)
Esplugas, Celia. “Sherwood Anderson’s Beyond Desire and the Industrial South.” Mississippi Quarterly 63.3-4 (2010)
Hoefer, Anthony. “‘They’re Trying to Wash Us Away’: Revisiting Faulkner’s If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem [The Wild Palms]and Wright’s ‘Down by the Riverside’ After the Flood.” Mississippi Quarterly 63.3-4 (2010)
Hurst, Allison L. “Beyond the Pale: Poor Whites as Uncontrolled Social Contagion in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Dred.”Mississippi Quarterly 63.3-4 (2010)
Nicosia, Laura M. “Making Sense of the Lunacy: Synesthesia, Paratextual Documents and Thoughtless Memory in John Dufresne’s Deep in the Shade of Paradise.” Mississippi Quarterly 63.3-4 (2010)
Akins, Adrienne V. “‘Just like Mister Jim’: Class Transformation from Cracker to Aristocrat in Hurston’s Seraph on the Suwanee.” Mississippi Quarterly 63.1 (2010): 31-43.
Rieger, Christopher. “The Pickup Truck in the Garden: Larry Brown’s Joe.” Mississippi Quarterly 63.3-4 (2010)
Shaw, Brad. “Baptizing Boo: Religion in the Cinematic Southern Gothic.” Mississippi Quarterly 63.3-4 (2010)
Modern Fiction Studies
Holcombe, Heather. “Faulkner on Feminine Hygiene, or, How Margaret Sanger Sold Dewey Dell a Bad Abortion.” Modern Fiction Studies 57.2 (2011): 203-228.
Follansbee, Jeanne. “‘Sweet Fascism in the Piney Woods’: Absalom, Absalom! as Fascist Fable.” Modernism/Modernity18.1 (2011): 67-94.
North Carolina Literary Review
Douglass, Thomas. “The Long Voyage Home: Richard McKenna at Chapel Hill.” North Carolina Literary Review 20 (2011).
Hicks, Scott. “Great Buzzards and Talking Hogs, Ghost Crabs and Goophered Grapevines, Sharecropping and Riverwriting: Species of North Carolina Environmental Literature.” North Carolina Literary Review 20 (2011).
Hovis, George. “The Classical Ecopoetics of Fred Chappell’s Backsass and Midquest.” North Carolina Literary Review 20 (2011).
Smith, Jimmy Dean. “Spirit Country: The Voice of the Earth and Ron Rash’s Southern Appalachia.” North Carolina Literary Review 20 (2011).
Taylor, Art. “Michael Malone, Witness to the Times” (an interview). North Carolina Literary Review 20 (2011).
South Atlantic Review
Bauer, Margaret. “From the Newspaper Page to the Broadway Stage: Paul Green in the Poet/Priest Tradition.” South Atlantic Review 75.2 (2010): 45-53.
South Central Review
Reynolds, Larry J. and Albert J. von Frank. “Emerson, John Brown, and Transcendental Idealism: A Colloquy.” South Central Review 28.2 (2011): 31-56.
Carmichael, Peter S. “‘Truth is mighty & will eventually prevail’: Political Correctness, Neo-Confederates, and Robert E. Lee.” Southern Cultures 17.3 (2011): 6-27.
Cheshire, Godfrey. “‘Personal in My Memory’: The South in Popular Film.” Southern Cultures 17.3 (2011): 28-38.
Fulks, Danny. “No Sweat: Memories of Southern Appalachia.” Southern Cultures 17.3 (2011): 39-47.
Southern Literary Journal
Akins, Adrienne V. “”We weren’t laughing at them . . . We’re grieving with you”: Empathy and Comic Vision in Welty’s The Optimist’s Daughter.” Southern Literary Journal 43.2 (2011): 87-104.
Boyd, Anne E. “Tourism, Imperialism, and Hybridity in the Reconstruction South: Constance Fenimore Woolson’s Rodman the Keeper: Southern Sketches.” Southern Literary Journal 43.2 (2011): 12-31.
Cagle, Jeremy. “I am now like the gambler”: Erotic Triangles and Game Theory in William Faulkner’s Pylon and If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem.” Southern Literary Journal 43.2 (2011): 32-54.
Davis, David A. “The Forgotten Apocalypse: Katherine Anne Porter’s “Pale Horse, Pale Rider,” Traumatic Memory, and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918.” Southern Literary Journal 43.2 (2011): 55-74.
Mutter, Sarah Mahurin.” “Such a Poor Word for a Wondrous Thing”: Thingness and the Recovery of the Human in The Known World.” Southern Literary Journal 43.2 (2011): 125-146.
Osbey, Brenda Marie. “Why We Can’t Talk to You About Voodoo.” Southern Literary Journal 43.2 (2011): 1-11.
Tucker, Terrence. “(Re)Claiming Legacy in the Post-Civil Rights South in Richard Wright’s “Down by the Riverside” and Ernest Gaines’s A Gathering of Old Men.” Southern Literary Journal 43.2 (2011): 105-124.
Yost, David. “The Harm of “Swedening”: Anxieties of Nativism in Katherine Anne Porter’s “Noon Wine”.” Southern Literary Journal 43.2 (2011): 75-86.
Crandell, George. “Beyond Pity and Fear: Echoes of Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Other Plays.” Southern Quarterly 48.4 (2011): 91-107.
Fisher, James. “Divinely Impossible”: Southern Heritage in the Creative Encounters of Tennessee Williams and Tallulah Bankhead.” Southern Quarterly 48.4 (2011): 52-72.
Kolin, Philip C. “Tennessee Williams and Armistice Day: An Unpublished Poem.” Southern Quarterly 48.4 (2011): 32-39.
Leal, Sandra. “A Jewel Box in Bloom: Translating Tennessee Williams’s Scientific Knowledge into Art in The Glass Menagerie and Suddenly Last Summer.” Southern Quarterly 48.4 (2011): 40-51.
Lowe, John. “The Tropical Sublime and Nineteenth-Century Southern Writers.” Southern Quarterly 48.3 (2011): 90-113.
Murphy, Brenda. “Toward a Map for the Camino Real: Tennessee Williams’s Cultural Imaginary.” Southern Quarterly 48.4 (2011): 73-90.
Palmer, R. Barton. “Tennessee Williams and 1950s Hollywood: The View from Here and Abroad.” Southern Quarterly48.4 (2011): 108-125.
Texas Studies in Literature and Language
Lamond, Julieanne. “The Reflected Eye: Reading Race in Barbara Baynton’s “Billy Skywonkie”.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 53.4 (2011): 387-400.
University of Alabama Press
Lewis Nordan: Humor, Heartbreak, and Hope. Ed. Barbara A. Baker. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011.
Redding, Arthur. Haints: American Ghosts, Millennial Passions, and Contemporary Gothic Fictions. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011.
Voss, Ralph F. Truman Capote and the Legacy of In Cold Blood. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011.
Cambridge University Press
Lowe, John. “Writing the American Story.” The Cambridge History of African American Literature. Ed. Mary Emma Graham and Jerry W. Ward. Cambridge: Cambridge University, Press, 2010. 341-355.
University of Chicago Press
Gilmore, Michael T. The War on Words: Slavery, Race, and Free Speech in American Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Rowley, Hazel. Richard Wright: The Life and Times. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Stern, Julia A. Mary Chesnut’s Civil War Epic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Duke University Press
Andrade, Susan Z. The Nation Writ Small: African Fictions and Feminisms, 1958-1988. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.
University Press of Florida
Kay, Roy. The Ethiopian Prophecy in Black American Letters. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011.
Lillios, Anna. Crossing the Creek: The Literary Friendship of Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011.
Wardi, Anissa Janine.Water and African American Memory: An Ecocritical Perspective. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011.
University of Georgia Press
Carretta, Vincent. Phyllis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011.
University of Illinois Press
Mitchell, Koritha. Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890-1930. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2011.
Chakkalakal, Tess. Novel Bondage: Slavery, Marriage, and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2011.
Writers of the Black Chicago Renaissance. Ed. Steven C. Tracy. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2011.
University Press of Kentucky
The Hills Remember: The Complete Short Stories of James Still. Ed. by Ted Olson. Louisville: University Press of Kentucky, 2012.
Louisiana State University Press
Powell, Tara. The Intellectual in Twentieth-Century Southern Literature. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2011.
Shloss, Carol. Flannery O’Connor’s Dark Comedies: The Limits of Inference. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2011.
Leiter, Andrew, ed. Southerners on Film: Essays on Hollywood Portrayals Since the 1970s. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 2011.
University Press of Mississippi
Brown, Jane Roy and Susan Haltom. One Writer’s Garden: Eudora Welty’s Home Place. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011.
Cash, Jean. Larry Brown, A Writer’s Life. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011.
Lowe, John. “Constance Fenimore Woolson and the Origins of the Global South.” Witness to Reconstruction: Constance Fenimore Woolson and the American South. Ed. Kathleen Diffley. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011. 37-55.
Miller, Keith D. Martin Luther King’s Biblical Epic: His Final, Great Speech. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011.
Smith, William J. My Friend Tom: The Poet-Playwright Tennessee Williams. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011.
University of North Carolina Press
The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Media. Ed. Allison Graham and Sharon Monteith. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
Wise, Ben. William Alexander Percy: The Curious Life of a Mississippi Planter and Sexual Freethinker. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
University of Ohio Press
Locklear, Erica Abrams. Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment: Appalachian Women’s Literacies. Athens: University of Ohio Press, 2011.
Oxford University Press
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly. Ed. David S. Reynolds and Hammatt Billings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
University of South Carolina Press
History and Women, Culture and Faith: Selected Writings of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese,
Volume 3. Intersections: History, Culture, Ideology. Ed. David Moltke-Hansen. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2011.
History and Women, Culture and Faith: Selected Writings of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese,Volume 4. Explorations and Commitments:Religion, Faith, and Culture. Ed. Ann Hartle and Sheila O’Connor-Ambrose. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2011.
Documentary CD Release: _The Bristol Sessions, 1927-1928: The Big Bang of Country Music_, Co-Produced and Featuring Liner Notes by Ted Olson, Bear Family Records, 2011.
Documentary CD Release: _Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music_, Co-Produced and Featuring Liner Notes by Ted Olson, Great Smoky Mountains Association, 2010.