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Other titles in the New Southern Studies series:

The Nation's Region: Southern Modernism, Segration, and U.S. Nationalism (New Southern Studies)


The Nation's Region: Southern Modernism, Segration, and U.S. Nationalism (New Southern Studies) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

How could liberalism and apartheid coexist for decades in our country, as they did during the first half of the twentieth century? This study looks at works by such writers as Thomas Dixon, Erskine Caldwell, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison to show how representations of time in southern narrative first accommodated but finally elucidated the relationship between these two political philosophies.

Although racial segregation was codified by U.S. law, says Leigh Anne Duck, nationalist discourse downplayed its significance everywhere but in the South, where apartheid was conceded as an immutable aspect of an anachronistic culture. As the nation modernized, the South served as a repository of the country's romantic notions: the region was represented as a close-knit, custom-bound place through which the nation could temper its ambivalence about the upheavals of progress. The Great Depression changed this. Amid economic anxiety and the international rise of fascism, writes Duck, "the trope of the backward South began to comprise an image of what the United States could become."

As she moves from the Depression to the nascent years of the civil rights movement to the early cold war era, Duck explains how experimental writers in each of these periods challenged ideas of a monolithically archaic South through innovative representations of time. She situates their narratives amid broad concern regarding national modernization and governance, as manifest in cultural and political debates, sociological studies, and popular film. Although southern modernists' modes and methods varied along this trajectory, their purpose remained focused: to explore the mutually constitutive relationships between social forms considered "southern" and "national."

Book News Annotation:

Duck (English, U. of Memphis) explores efforts of southern modernists to think their way through the purported temporal divide between the South and the larger nation during a period when intellectual and popular discourse in the nation called for a sustaining culture, while economic and political struggle in the region confirmed a need for change. She looks in particular at the work of Erskine Caldwell, Zora Neale Hurston, and William Faulkner. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

About the Author

Leigh Anne Duck is an associate professor of English at the University of Memphis, where she is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Research on Women and the Womens Studies Program.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix


American and Southern Exceptionalisms 1

part one. imagining affiliation


Region, Race, and Nation 17


Economy Crisis 50

part two. modernist mappings


Erskine Caldwell and the Abject South 85


Zora Neale Hurston and the Chronotope of the Folk 115


William Faulkner and the Haunted Plantation 146

part three. the shifting “south”

s i x

Provincial Cosmopolitanism 177


The Nation’s Region Redux 212

Notes 249

Works Cited 291

Index 331

Product Details

Duck, Leigh Anne
University of Georgia Press
American literature
Modernism (literature)
United States - 20th Century (1900-1945)
American - Southern
United States - State & Local - South
American literature -- Southern States.
Southern States In literature.
World History-General
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
New Southern Studies
Publication Date:
9 x 6 in 1.35 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

The Nation's Region: Southern Modernism, Segration, and U.S. Nationalism (New Southern Studies) New Hardcover
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Product details 352 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820328102 Reviews:
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