The History of Southern Women's Literature

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Carolyn Perry, Mary Weaks-Baxter
LSU Press, Mar 1, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 689 pages
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Many of America’s foremost, and most beloved, authors are also southern and female: Mary Chesnut, Kate Chopin, Ellen Glasgow, Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Harper Lee, Maya Angelou, Anne Tyler, Alice Walker, and Lee Smith, to name several. Designating a writer as “southern” if her work reflects the region’s grip on her life, Carolyn Perry and Mary Louise Weaks have produced an invaluable guide to the richly diverse and enduring tradition of southern women’s literature. Their comprehensive history—the first of its kind in a relatively young field—extends from the pioneer woman to the career woman, embracing black and white, poor and privileged, urban and Appalachian perspectives and experiences.

The History of Southern Women’s Literature allows readers both to explore individual authors and to follow the developing arc of various genres across time. Conduct books and slave narratives; Civil War diaries and letters; the antebellum, postbellum, and modern novel; autobiography and memoirs; poetry; magazine and newspaper writing—these and more receive close attention. Over seventy contributors are represented here, and their essays discuss a wealth of women’s issues from four centuries: race, urbanization, and feminism; the myth of southern womanhood; preset images and assigned social roles—from the belle to the mammy—and real life behind the facade of meeting others’ expectations; poverty and the labor movement; responses to Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the influence of Gone with the Wind.

The history of southern women’s literature tells, ultimately, the story of the search for freedom within an “insidious tradition,” to quote Ellen Glasgow. This teeming volume validates the deep contributions and pleasures of an impressive body of writing and marks a major achievement in women’s and literary studies.

 

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The history of southern women's literature

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Editors Perry (English, Westminster Coll.) and Weaks (English, Rockford Coll.) wanted this survey to be as "all inclusive as possible to show the full range of writing by women of the South," and they ... Read full review

Contents

The Antebellum and Bellum South Beginnings to 1865
13
Gender Issues in the Old South
32
Eliza Lucas Pinckney
43
Womens Magazines
59
Louisa S McCord
77
Southern Women Writers Responses to Uncle Toms Cabin
97
Mary Chesnut
119
Introduction to Part II 125
125
Appalachian Writers
309
The Growing Importance of Literary Circles and Mentors
329
Julia Peterkin
343
Katherine Anne Porter
359
Lillian Smith
374
Eudora Welty
391
Flannery OConnor
404
The Contemporary South 1960 to the Present
421

The New Woman of the New South
133
The Postbellum Novel
141
Augusta Jane Evans Wilson
150
Southern History in the Imagination of African American Women
156
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
164
Southern Women Humorists
176
Mary Noailles Murfree
187
Southern Women Poets of the Victorian Age
193
Louisiana Writers of the Postbellum South
201
Kate Chopin
210
Grace King
216
Alice DunbarNelson
225
Introduction to Part III
233
Southern Women Writers and the Beginning of the Renaissance
242
The Modern Novel
251
Gone with the Wind and Its Influence
258
Southern Womens Autobiography
268
Women Writers and the Myths of Southern Womanhood
275
ReVisioning the Southern Land
290
Women Writers of the Harlem Renaissance
296
Southern Women Writers and the Womens Movement
439
Contemporary Writers and Race
455
Southern Women Writers in a Changing Landscape
478
A Second Southern Renaissance
491
Margaret Walker
498
Ellen Douglas
512
Shirley Ann Grau
525
Ellen Gilchrist
541
Anne Tyler
559
Rita Mae Brown
570
Josephine Humphreys
579
Beth Henley
588
Jayne Anne Phillips
594
Kaye Gibbons
604
The Future of Southern Womens Writing
610
The Study of Southern Womens Literature
621
Bibliography of General Secondary Sources on Southern Womens
633
Contributors
641
Index
653
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Carolyn Perryis associate professor of English at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Mary Louise Weaks is Hazel Koch Professor of English at Rockford College in Illinois. They previously coedited the anthology Southern Women’s Writing: Colonial to Contemporary.

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