Get After Southern Modernism: Fiction of the Contemporary South PDF

By Matthew Guinn

ISBN-10: 1578062721

ISBN-13: 9781578062720

The literature of the modern South may possibly top be understood for its discontinuity with the literary previous. At odds with traditions of the Southern Renascence, southern literature of at the present time sharply refutes the Nashville Agrarians and stocks few of Faulkner's and Welty's matters approximately position, group, and background.

This sweeping examine of the literary South's new path specializes in 9 good proven writers who, by way of breaking clear of the firmly ensconced myths, have emerged as an iconoclastic iteration- -- Harry Crews, Dorothy Allison, Bobbie Ann Mason, Larry Brown, Kaye Gibbons, Randall Kenan, Richard Ford, Cormac McCarthy, and Barry Hannah. Resisting the modernist tools of the prior, they've got validated their very own postmodern flooring past the shadow in their predecessors.

This shift in authorial point of view is an important indicator of the way forward for southern writing. Crews's seminal position as a ground-breaking "poor white" writer, Mason's and Crews's portrayals of rural lifestyles, and Allison's and Brown's frank portrayals of the reduce classification pose a problem to standard depictions of the South. The dissenting voices of Gibbons and Kenan, who concentrate on gender, race, and sexuality, create fiction that's instantaneously identifiably "southern" and in addition incredibly subversive. Gibbons's iconoclastic stance towards patriarchy, just like the outsider's critique of group present in Kenan's paintings, proffers a portrait of the South unheard of within the region's literature. Ford, McCarthy, and Hannah every one method the South's conventional notions of heritage and neighborhood with new irreverence and deal with prevalent southern subject matters in a notably postmodern demeanour. no matter if via Ford's familiar customer panorama, the haunted netherworld of McCarthy's southern novels, or Hannah's riotous burlesque of the Civil conflict, those authors assail the philosophical and cultural foundations from which the Southern Renascence arose.

Challenging the normal conceptions of the southern canon, it is a provocative and cutting edge contribution to the region's literary examine.

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There's no way to talk about it. Those rural people don't sit around and talk about the way the world is. The world is as close to them as their own skins. ("Arguments" 68) Here the metaphorical value of the pastoral is eradicated at its very foundations. In contrast to its conventional use in southern literature, the rural is, for Crews, antihumanistic. In Crews's experience, an intimate relationship with the earth engenders brutality as much as enlightenment/ it is not progress or industrialism that strip humanity of its dignity but rural life itself.

Crews's A Childhood: The Biography of a Place and Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina exemplify this movement. As works specifically concerned with the issue of social class, they constitute salient refutations of the aristocratic-agrarian ideal. Together they chart the course of industrialization that the Agrarians feared, from the vanished agricultural world of Crews's memoir to the city setting of Allison's autobiographical novel. They demonstrate, too, the serious deficiencies of the Agrarian formulation of southern society.

The simple negative expression undercuts the entire abstraction of city life and the knockout performance, and it connects him to a realism that can accept his concrete, flawed humanity. Finally Eugene has discovered something legitimate that is solid and self-determining: "He only meant No. It was one of the few utterly clear moments in his life when he was able to say exactly what he meant, exactly" (261-62). "No" is significant to the evolution of the grit emigre theme because it directly addresses the industrial ideology that confronts the rural emigrants in the city.

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After Southern Modernism: Fiction of the Contemporary South by Matthew Guinn


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