Themes of Conflict in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Literature of the American South

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Editorial Board: Kirk Curnutt, Stephen Cooper, Albert Glover, Noel Harold Kaylor, Jr., Richard Scott Nokes (Conference Organizer), and William B. Thompson
This work consists of an edited collection of twenty essays originally presented at the Conflict in Southern Writing Conference in 2004 seeking to explore the various permutations of conflict as depicted in two centuries of literature by authors from the American South. Also included in this volume are five original interviews with contemporary Southern authors (Wade Hall, Sena Jeter Naslund, Sue Walker, Stephen Cushman, and Betty Bayé) which bring the collection into the twenty-first century and present the same conflicts addressed in the essays from the viewpoints of the creative writers themselves.


“The people who organized the conference in which this volume originated, like the people who contributed to it and the people who edited it, are far too canny, sophisticated, and wise to make the claim that, in itself, the presence of conflict, in all its possible forms, makes Southern writing, in all the indeterminacy of Southernness, exceptional. But their assembly of this volume does constitute an always implicit argument that something about conflict in Southern writing needs and deserves special consideration. Yes, all the writing we continue to read and value has some kind of conflict in it; yet, this volume suggests something about Southern writing in particular, it manages to treat and sometimes to illuminate conflict in significant, memorable ways; ways in which not all writing does.” - Dr. Stephen Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English, University of Virgina

“This collection has several strengths. First, the collection mixes canonical writers (Faulkner, Hurston, Dickey and McCullers) with non-canonical ones (Naslund, Covington, Berry, and Kid). ... Second, the collection acknowledges the variety of genres in southern literature. ... Finally, the book also represents well the multicultural voices of the region, covering white, black, and native voices as well as male and female writers.” - Professor Christopher Metress, Department of English, Samford University

Table of Contents

Preface by Stephen Cushman
Introduction: Examining Conflict in the American South - Ben P. Robertson and Richard Scott Nokes
Posthumanism, the Civil War, and the Violent Other
1 The Narrative Struggle to Understand the Violent Other: Portrayal of the Klan in McWhorter’s Carry Me Home, Naslund’s Four Spirits, and Campbell’s Brother to a Dragonfly - Margaret Davis
2 Utopian and Dystopian Elements in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God - Quan Manh Ha
3 “A Peculiar Kind of Intimacy”: Men, Nature, and the Unnatural in James Dickey’s “The Sheep Child” and Deliverance - Bart H. Welling
4 Interview with Wade Hall - Albert Glover
Boundaries of Place and Identity
5 “Between the Sidewalk and the Gutter”: Bull Connor’s Trespasses and Transgressions in Covington’s Last Hotel for Women - Lynn Pifer
6 T.S. Stribling: To Residents of Clifton, Tennessee, There is No Other Author - Jefferson T. Spurlock
7 Grown Deep: The Mississippi River as a Site of Conflict and Growth in Southern Literature - Margaret Rozga
8 Cherokee Memorials: A Vein of Southern Conflict - Albert Glover
9 Interview with Sena Jeter Naslund - Noel Harold Kaylor, Jr.
Metaphors of Conflict
10 Metaphors of Conflict in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God - Noel Harold Kaylor, Jr.
11 Internal Conflict Revealed through the Historical Perspective and Social Commentary of Faulkner - Kristine Irmick
12 Ignis Fatuus in Faulkner’s Sanctuary - Danna Voth
13 The Realm of Rivers and Writers: An Interview with Sue Brannan Walker - Richard Scott Nokes
Blending Genres
14 Illuminations and Night Glare: Carson McCullers’ Sad Songs of the South - Mary Gervin
15 Does Southern Drama Still Exist? Or, What is the Advantage of an Adjective? - Pamela Jean Monaco
16 Southern Orality and “Typographic America”: I’ll Take My Stand Reconsidered - Clay Morton
17 Sudden Familiarities: An Interview with Stephen Cushman - William Thompson
Sources of Healing and Redemption
18 Conflict and Closure: Bees and Honey as Metaphors for Healing in The Secret Life of Bees - Judith Hebb
19 Transcending a Legacy: Sex, History, and Self in Gayl Jones’s Corregidora - Monica F. Jacobe
20 “Restoring the Broken Connections”: Conflict Resolved in Wendell Berry’s Remembering - W. Brett Wiley
21 “The Stereoptic Whole”: The Fictional Resolution of the South in William Faulkener - Owen Elmore
22 Southern Writing and the African-American Experience: An Interview with Betty Winston Bayé - Ben P. Robertson
Repercussions of the Lost Cause
23 Soldiers, Slaves, Symbols, and the Lost Cause - Stephen W. B. Rizzo
24 “The Serene Fragrance of Many Years”: Finding Permanence in Southern Conflict in Red Hills and Cotton - Ben P. Robertson
25 Winning the Fight for Survival and Self-Knowledge: Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men - Kerry Searle Grannis
Selected Bibliography

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