Metafigurative Strategies of Narration
220 Pages / 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.60 in
- Hardcover /
- 9780807172988 /
- Published: May 2020
- eBook /
- 9780807173800 /
- Published: May 2020
In Southern Hyperboles: Metafigurative Strategies of Narration, Michał Choiński confronts the often paradoxical and excessive elements of southern literature, focusing on dominant narrative modes and representation strategies in works produced from the early 1930s to the late 1950s. With renewed attention to renderings of the gothic and grotesque, Choiński argues that modernist literature from the U.S. South often deploys the trope of hyperbole, which escalates contrasts and disrupts the sense of the normal.
By focusing on how writers processed the South via narratives of hyperbolic excess, Southern Hyperboles explores a mode of comprehension forged from the tensions of a segregated, patriarchal society driven by racial and social decorum. Moving chronologically, Choiński traces distinct manifestations of hyperbolic metalogic in the works of seven authors: Katherine Anne Porter, William Faulkner, Lillian Smith, Katherine Du Pre Lumpkin, Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor, and Harper Lee. The mode of hyperbole identified by Choiński relies on a clash of opposites, along with the rapid intensification of disharmonious ideas pushed to extremes, leading to an ultimate break in established decorum. The shock produced by hyperbole generates a momentary state of confusion that soon dissipates, allowing recipients to reach a new understanding of their surrounding world.
Melding an innovative use of rhetorical theory with fine-grained analysis of literary texts, Southern Hyperboles elucidates contradictory and interlocking issues related to memory, social trauma, grotesquerie, and troubled mythologies that permeate the U.S. South.
In this sophisticated and entertaining study, Michał Choiński shows how seven stars of southern literary fiction brilliantly exploit figurative frames—hyperbole more than any other—to underpin the unforgettable style and rhetoric of their storytelling. ~Michael Toolan, author of The Stylistics of Fiction: A Literary-Linguistic Approach
Michał Choiński's provocative study reorients how we think about mid-twentieth-century southern literature. Shifting our attention away from those themes, motifs, and aesthetics often associated with southern writing, Choiński encourages us to consider instead the hyperbolic mode that runs through the works produced by many of the region’s most well-known authors. His deft readings and compelling argument deepen our understanding of southern writing published during this critical period. ~Sarah E. Gardner, author of Reviewing the South: The Literary Marketplace and the Southern Renaissance, 1920–1941