Encyclopedia of Southern culture

Front Cover
University of North Carolina Press, 1989 - History - 1634 pages
3 Reviews
The American South is a geographical entity, a historical fact, a place in the imagination, and the homeland of an array of Americans who consider themselves southerners. The region is often shrouded in romance and myth, but its realities are as intriguing, as intricate, as its legends. The Encyclopedia of Southern Cultureis "the first attempt ever" notes U.S. News & World Report, "to describe every aspect of a region's life and thought, the impact of its history and policies, its music and literature, its manners and myths, even the iced tea that washes down its catfish and cornbread." There are many Souths, many southerners. The region's fundamental uniqueness, in fact, lies in its peculiar combination of cultural traits, a somewhat curious, often elusive blend created by blacks and whites who have lived together for more than 300 years. In telling their stories, the Encyclopedia of Southern Cultureranges from grand historical themes to the whimsical; from the arts and high culture (William Faulkner and Leontyne Price) to folk culture (quilts, banjos, and grits) to popular culture (Gilley's and Gone With the Wind). The Encyclopedia's definition of the South is a cultural one: the South is found wherever southern culture is found. Although the focus is on the eleven states of the former Confederacy, this volume also encompasses southern outposts in midwestern and middle-Atlantic border states, even the southern pockets of Chicago, Detroit, and Bakersfield. To foster a deeper understanding of the South's cultural patterns, the editors have organized this reference book around twenty-four thematic sections, including history, religion, folklore, language, art and architecture, recreation, politics, the mythic South, urbanization, literature, music, violence, law, and media. The life experiences of southerners are discussed in sections on black life, ethnic life, and women's life. Throughout, the broad goal is to identify the forces that have supported either the reality or the illusion of the southern way of life--people, places, ideas, institutions, events, symbols, rituals, and values. The Encyclopedia of Southern Culturewas developed by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. Contributors to the volume include historians, literary critics, sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, linguists, theologians, folklorists, architects, ecologists, lawyers, university presidents, newspaper reporters, magazine writers, and novelists.

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User Review  - Elisa - Goodreads

Excellent overview of everything Southern Read full review

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User Review  - RUSA CODES - Goodreads

This was the recipient of the Dartmouth Medal for 1990. For the complete list, go to http://ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rusa/aw... Read full review

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About the author (1989)

Charles Reagan Wilson, a Texan, is professor of history and southern studies at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920 and editor of Religion in the South.

William Ferris, a native of Mississippi, is professor of anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. He has consulted extensively on a variety of projects and produced numerous films, record albums, and television documentaries in the field of folklore. His books include Blues from the Delta, Local Color, Mississippi Black Folklore, and Afro-American Folk Art and Crafts.