Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Southern Short Stories

Although I am an English major, for a degree in anything there are other basic course requirements which must be met, like Biology, Georgia History or Math, which for most English majors I know, is a nightmare. Literature classes, which are required for my major, keep the semester from feeling like a job. This semester I took a course in Southern Short Stories which really opened my eyes to the diversity of Southern writers. One of the books we used was the Signet Classic Book of Southern Short Stories, an excellent introduction to some of the best short story authors around. It includes Edgar Allan Poe and his mastery of the sympathetic unreliable narrator in The Tale of the Ragged Mountains, and Ellen Glasgow’s subtle use of gender role reversal to discredit two would be reliable narrators in Dare’s Gift. I also read Three Men and Bloodlines by Ernest Gaines whose intimate knowledge of the Louisiana social landscape is unmistakable and authentic, and the neo-slave narratives of Alice Walker, The Child Who Favored Daughter and Strong Horse Tea. And, too, Katherine Anne Porters’ last “Miranda” story, Old Mortality, with its dispersion of the mythology of Southern womanhood. I’ve learned that the range of the Southern literary canon expands far beyond the “plantation novel”, and the valorization of the antebellum society we are normally exposed to: from the fascinating and unflinching depiction of Flannery O’Connor’s Southern Grotesque, to the progressive interpretation of women and marriage in the stories of Ellen Glasgow and Susan Petigru King.

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At 5:34 AM , Anonymous Paul said...

Those are some good writers there !!

At 7:48 AM , Blogger persistence said...

Indeed a nice, neat little collection of some of the best American authors. I still spit when I think that of all those years growing up in public schools, that I was not introduced to most of these writers...but, I guess better late than never.


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