From Tobacco Road to Route 66

The Southern Poor White in Fiction

From Tobacco Road to Route 66

In the early nineteenth century, the southern poor white had a reputation for comic vulgarity and absurd violence; postbellum writers saw him as a quaint peasant; the 1920s transformed him into a revolutionary proletarian. Of the literary treatments discussed, Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath emerges as a skillful compromise of documentary accuracy and political daring by reviving the tradition of degeneracy. Originally published in 1976. A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

A New Heartland

Women, Modernity, and the Agrarian Ideal in America

A New Heartland

Modernity and urbanity have long been considered mutually sustaining forces in early twentieth-century America. But has the dominance of the urban imaginary obscured the importance of the rural? How have women, in particular, appropriated discourses and images of rurality to interrogate the problems of modernity? And how have they imbued the rural-traditionally viewed as a locus for conservatism-with a progressive political valence? Touching on such diverse subjects as eugenics, reproductive rights, advertising, the economy of literary prizes, and the role of the camera, A New Heartland demonstrates the importance of rurality to the imaginative construction of modernism/modernity; it also asserts that women, as objects of scrutiny as well as agents of critique, had a special stake in that relation. Casey traces the ideals informing America's conception of the rural across a wide field of representational domains, including social theory, periodical literature, cultural criticism, photography, and, most especially, women's rural fiction ("low" as well as "high"). Her argument is informed by archival research, most crucially through a careful analysis of The Farmer's Wife, the single nationally distributed farm journal for women and a little known repository of rural American attitudes. Through this broad scope, A New Heartland articulates an alternative mode of modernism by challenging orthodox ideas about gender and geography in twentieth-century America.

Hillbilly

A Cultural History of an American Icon

Hillbilly

In this pioneering work of cultural history, historian Anthony Harkins argues that the hillbilly-in his various guises of "briar hopper," "brush ape," "ridge runner," and "white trash"-has been viewed by mainstream Americans simultaneously as a violent degenerate who threatens the modern order and as a keeper of traditional values of family, home, and physical production, and thus symbolic of a nostalgic past free of the problems of contemporary life. "Hillbilly" signifies both rugged individualism and stubborn backwardness, strong family and kin networks but also inbreeding and bloody feuds. Spanning film, literature, and the entire expanse of American popular culture, from D. W. Griffith to hillbilly music to the Internet, Harkins illustrates how the image of the hillbilly has consistently served as both a marker of social derision and regional pride. He traces the corresponding changes in representations of the hillbilly from late-nineteenth century America, through the great Depression, the mass migrations of Southern Appalachians in the 1940s and 1950s, the War on Poverty in the mid 1960s, and to the present day. Harkins also argues that images of hillbillies have played a critical role in the construction of whiteness and modernity in twentieth century America. Richly illustrated with dozens of photographs, drawings, and film and television stills, this unique book stands as a testament to the enduring place of the hillbilly in the American imagination. Hillbilly received an Honorable Mention, John G. Cawelti Book Award of the American Culture Association.

The Companion to Southern Literature

Themes, Genres, Places, People, Movements, and Motifs

The Companion to Southern Literature

Selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Selected as an Outstanding Reference Source by the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association There are many anthologies of southern literature, but this is the first companion. Neither a survey of masterpieces nor a biographical sourcebook, The Companion to Southern Literature treats every conceivable topic found in southern writing from the pre-Columbian era to the present, referencing specific works of all periods and genres. Top scholars in their fields offer original definitions and examples of the concepts they know best, identifying the themes, burning issues, historical personalities, beloved icons, and common or uncommon stereotypes that have shaped the most significant regional literature in memory. Read the copious offerings straight through in alphabetical order (Ancestor Worship, Blue-Collar Literature, Caves) or skip randomly at whim (Guilt, The Grotesque, William Jefferson Clinton). Whatever approach you take, The Companion’s authority, scope, and variety in tone and interpretation will prove a boon and a delight. Explored here are literary embodiments of the Old South, New South, Solid South, Savage South, Lazy South, and “Sahara of the Bozart.” As up-to-date as grit lit, K Mart fiction, and postmodernism, and as old-fashioned as Puritanism, mules, and the tall tale, these five hundred entries span a reach from Lady to Lesbian Literature. The volume includes an overview of every southern state’s belletristic heritage while making it clear that the southern mind extends beyond geographical boundaries to form an essential component of the American psyche. The South’s lavishly rich literature provides the best means of understanding the region’s deepest nature, and The Companion to Southern Literature will be an invaluable tool for those who take on that exciting challenge. Description of Contents 500 lively, succinct articles on topics ranging from Abolition to Yoknapatawpha 250 contributors, including scholars, writers, and poets 2 tables of contents — alphabetical and subject — and a complete index A separate bibliography for most entries

Gastonia 1929

The Story of the Loray Mill Strike

Gastonia 1929

Of the wave of labor strikes that swept through the South in 1929, the one at the Loray Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina, is perhaps the best remembered. In Gastonia 1929 John Salmond provides the first detailed account of the complex events surrounding the strike at the largest textile mill in the Southeast. His compelling narrative unravels the confusing story of the shooting of the town's police chief, the trials of the alleged killers, the unsolved murder of striker Ella May Wiggins, and the strike leaders' conviction and subsequent flight to the Soviet Union. Describing the intensifying climate of violence in the region, Salmond presents the strike within the context of the southern vigilante tradition and as an important chapter in American economic and labor history in the years after World War I. He draws particular attention to the crucial role played by women as both supporters and leaders of the strike, and he highlights the importance of race and class issues in the unfolding of events.

Portrait of America

A Cultural History of the Federal Writers' Project

Portrait of America

How well do we know our country? Whom do we include when we use the word "American"? These are not just contemporary issues but recurring questions Americans have asked themselves throughout their history--and questions that were addressed when, in 1935, the Roosevelt administration created the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration. Although the immediate context of the FWP was work relief, national FWP officials developed programs that spoke to much larger and longer-standing debates over the nature of American identity and culture and the very definition of who was an American. Hirsch reviews the founding of the FWP and the significance of its American Guide series, considering the choices made by administrators who wanted to celebrate diversity as a positive aspect of American cultural identity. In his exploration of the FWP's other writings, Hirsch discusses the project's pioneering use of oral history in interviews with ordinary southerners, ex-slaves, ethnic minorities, and industrial workers. He also examines congressional critics of the FWP vision; the occasional opposition of local Federal Writers, especially in the South; and how the FWP's vision changed in response to the challenge of World War II. In the course of this study, Hirsch raises thought-provoking questions about the relationships between diversity and unity, government and culture, and, ultimately, culture and democracy.

Labor's Text

The Worker in American Fiction

Labor's Text

Labor's Text charts how the worker has been portrayed and often misrepresented in American fiction. Laura Hapke offers hundreds of depictions of wage earners: from fiction on the early artisan "aristocrats" to the Gilded Age's union-busting novelists to the year 2000's marginalized, apolitical men and women. Whether the authors discussed are pro- or anti-labor, Hapke illuminates the literary, historical, and intellectual contexts in which their fiction was produced and read.

American Night

The Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War

American Night

American Night, the final volume of an unprecedented trilogy, brings Alan Wald's multigenerational history of Communist writers to a poignant climax. Using new research to explore the intimate lives of novelists, poets, and critics during the Cold War, Wald reveals a radical community longing for the rebirth of the social vision of the 1930s and struggling with a loss of moral certainty as the Communist worldview was being called into question. The resulting literature, Wald shows, is a haunting record of fracture and struggle linked by common structures of feeling, ones more suggestive of the "negative dialectics" of Theodor Adorno than the traditional social realism of the Left. Establishing new points of contact among Kenneth Fearing, Ann Petry, Alexander Saxton, Richard Wright, Jo Sinclair, Thomas McGrath, and Carlos Bulosan, Wald argues that these writers were in dialogue with psychoanalysis, existentialism, and postwar modernism, often generating moods of piercing emotional acuity and cosmic dissent. He also recounts the contributions of lesser known cultural workers, with a unique accent on gays and lesbians, secular Jews, and people of color. The vexing ambiguities of an era Wald labels "late antifascism" serve to frame an impressive collective biography.

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

Volume 20: Social Class

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

This volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture offers a timely, authoritative, and interdisciplinary exploration of issues related to social class in the South from the colonial era to the present. With introductory essays by J. Wayne Flynt and by editors Larry J. Griffin and Peggy G. Hargis, the volume is a comprehensive, stand-alone reference to this complex subject, which underpins the history of the region and shapes its future. In 58 thematic essays and 103 topical entries, the contributors explore the effects of class on all aspects of life in the South--its role in Indian removal, the Civil War, the New Deal, and the civil rights movement, for example, and how it has been manifested in religion, sports, country and gospel music, and matters of gender. Artisans and the working class, indentured workers and steelworkers, the Freedmen's Bureau and the Knights of Labor are all examined. This volume provides a full investigation of social class in the region and situates class concerns at the center of our understanding of Southern culture.

Labor and Desire

Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America

Labor and Desire

This critical, historical, and theoretical study looks at a little-known group of novels written during the 1930s by women who were literary radicals. Arguing that class consciousness was figured through metaphors of gender, Paula Rabinowitz challenges the conventional wisdom that feminism as a discourse disappeared during the decade. She focuses on the ways in which sexuality and maternity reconstruct the "classic" proletarian novel to speak about both the working-class woman and the radical female intellectual. Two well-known novels bracket this study: Agnes Smedley's Daughters of Earth (1929) and Mary McCarthy's The Company She Keeps (1942). In all, Rabinowitz surveys more than forty novels of the period, many largely forgotten. Discussing these novels in the contexts of literary radicalism and of women's literary tradition, she reads them as both cultural history and cultural theory. Through a consideration of the novels as a genre, Rabinowitz is able to theorize about the interrelationship of class and gender in American culture. Rabinowitz shows that these novels, generally dismissed as marginal by scholars of the literary and political cultures of the 1930s, are in fact integral to the study of American fiction produced during the decade. Relying on recent feminist scholarship, she reformulates the history of literary radicalism to demonstrate the significance of these women writers and to provide a deeper understanding of their work for twentieth-century American cultural studies in general.