Seeking the Region in American Literature and Culture : Modernity, Dissidence, Innovation

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2005-12-01
  • Publisher: Louisiana State Univ Pr

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Regionalism often evokes provinciality and an affiliation with minor literary genres, but Robert Jackson shows that region is an integral part of American identity, providing grounding for major independent voices. Jackson offers a new critical model of region that contributes to literary and cultural study across a wide range of topics. He addresses American literature since the Civil War with particular attention to Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Toni Morrison. In advancing their own diverse aesthetic and social agendas--reactionary and progressive, theological and secular, gender-based, race-based, and above all, dissident--these writers, Jackson argues, articulate some of the most perceptive and innovative expressions of the American region in the literary history of the United States. He provides a regional reading of Twain's greatest novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and explores Faulkner's work in problematic relation to the Depression-era Nashville Agrarian movement. O'Connor, he shows, transforms the region from a hothouse of sentimentality into a sharp, deadly weapon in her short fiction, and Morrison's brilliant appropriation of region enables her to fashion an aesthetic that is both race-conscious and endowed with revisionist agency. Jackson illuminates the importance of rethinking long-established assumptions and demonstrates the vast potential of the region in critical considerations of American literature and culture.

Author Biography

Robert Jackson is an instructor of history at the University of Virginia

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction The Gilded Land: Toward a Theory of the Region in the United States 1(23)
Regional Theory and the Fog Episode in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
William Faulkner and the Invention of the South
Flannery O'Connor's Modest Vision
Regional and Racial Constructions in Toni Morrison
Conclusion Renaming, Reclaiming: The Promise of the Region in American Culture
Notes 157(8)
Bibliography 165(6)
Index 171

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