In the twenty years of its existence, the second series of the Southern Review continued the editorial orientation of the first series by presenting a range of regional and cosmopolitan works of fiction. This anthology is a collection of twenty-five short stories from the nearly three hundred published in the journal between 1965 and 1985. The editors have sought to illustrate the diversity of subject matter and the tremendous range of tone, voice, and technique that have characterized short fiction in the Southern Review.
Although many of the contributors to Selected Stories from the “Southern Review” are southern, the collection also includes national and international, new and established writers. The focus of the anthology is on literary merit rather than regional considerations. “Abroad” by Nadine Gordimer, which depicts the experiences of a white South African visiting his son in Zimbabwe, is in the collection, along with John William Corrington’s “Pleadings,” the powerful account of an incident in the life of a south Louisiana attorney. Mary Lavin’s “The Face of Hate” addresses life amidst the conflict in Northern Ireland, and Elizabeth Spencer’s “The Cousins” explores the entanglements and coming of age of five young adults on a European vacation. Joyce Carol Oates’s “Détente” interweaves the personal and political aspects of a Soviet-American literary conference, and Robb Forman Dew follows the adventures of two naive Natchez girls in New Orleans in “Two Girls Wearing Perfume in the Summer.”
From Louis D. Rubin’s tentative young newspaperman in “The St. Anthony Chorale” to William Mills’s sure-footed X-ray technician in “Sweet Tickfaw Run Softly, Till I End My Song,” from Rita Dove’s compelling “Secondhand Man” to John E. Wildeman’s Satirical “Surfiction”—these are characters and stories from the new series of the Southern Review which offer resounding proof that the brilliant publishing tradition originating with Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren has been preserved by a magazine that still maintains its national literary reputation.
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