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South to A New Place

Region, Literature, Culture

foreword by Richard Gray

Southern Literary Studies

394 pages / 6.00 x 8.75 inches / 7 halftones

Literature - American

  Paperback / 9780807128404 / November 2002

Taking Albert Murray’s South to a Very Old Place as a starting point, contributors to this exciting collection continue the work of critically and creatively remapping the South through their freewheeling studies of southern literature and culture. Appraising representations of the South within a context that is postmodern, diverse, widely inclusive, and international, the essays present multiple ways of imagining the South and examine both new places and old landscapes in an attempt to tie the mythic southern balloon down to earth.

In his foreword, an insightful discussion of numerous Souths and the ways they are perceived, Richard Gray explains one of the key goals of the book: to open up to scrutiny the literary and cultural practice that has come to be known as “regionalism.” Part I, “Surveying the Territory,” theorizes definitions of place and region, and includes an analysis of southern literary regionalism from the 1930s to the present and an exploration of southern popular culture. In “Mapping the Region,” essayists examine different representations of rural landscapes and small towns, cities and suburbs, as well as liminal zones in which new immigrants make their homes. Reflecting the contributors’ transatlantic perspective, “Making Global Connections” challenges notions of southern distinctiveness by reading the region through the comparative frameworks of Southern Italy, East Germany, Latin America, and the United Kingdom and via a range of texts and contexts — from early reconciliation romances to Faulkner’s fictions about race to the more recent parody of southern mythmaking, Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone.

Together, these essays explore the roles that economic, racial, and ideological tensions have played in the formation of southern identity through varying representations of locality, moving regionalism toward a “new place” in southern studies.

Essayists include the best and brightest in southern literary criticism:

• Richard Gray 
• Scott Romine 
• Barbara Ladd 
• Carolyn Jones
• Jon Smith
• Paul Lyons
• Wes Berry
• Eric Anderson
• Robert McRuer
• Matthew Guinn
• Martyn Bone
• Maureen Ryan
• Amy J. Elias
• Michael Kreyling
• Christine Gerhardt
• Deborah Cohn
• Helen Taylor
• Diane Roberts
• Suzanne W. Jones 
• Sharon Monteith

Associate professor of English at the University of Richmond, Suzanne W. Jones is also the editor of Writing the Woman Artist; Growing Up in the South; and Crossing the Color Line. Sharon Monteith is senior lecturer in the School of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham in England. She is the author of Advancing Sisterhood? Interracial Friendships in Contemporary Southern Fiction and coeditor of Gender and the Civil Rights Movement.

Richard Gray is professor of literature at the University of Essex and editor of the Journal of American Studies. His books include Writing the South: Ideas of an American Region; The Literature of Memory: Modern Writers of the American South; and The Life of William Faulkner: A Critical Biography.

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