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Inhabiting contemporary southern and Appalachian literature; region and place in the twenty-first century.


Inhabiting contemporary southern and Appalachian literature; region and place in the twenty-first century.

Clabough, Casey.

U. Press of Florida


202 pages




This analysis of Southern and Appalachian literature both comes from and plays with the tradition of academic literary studies. What makes it different is that Casey Clabough (English, Lynchburg College) writes like a writer rather than an academic. As a result, he opens the source of his scholarly interest in books to readers in and beyond the community of literature scholars. This book will appeal both to scholars interested in its topic, and to general readers with lively minds who want to know what all the fuss about literature or Southern-ness is about. The book's basic premise is that place is a hard idea to pin down but an important one. By looking carefully at how particular writers deal with the fact that a particular story is happening in Appalachia or the US South, the author hopes to learn more about what it means for a story to be set in Appalachia or the South-and so what it means to be in Appalachia or the South, what it means to be in (or from) a particular place, how we think about place, and why our particular place is often so important for us. By looking at writers (not Faulkner) and genres (postmodernist metafiction, comedy, hard-boiled detective) we don't automatically associate with Appalachia or the US South, the author moves the conversation past cliches about Appalachia, The South, and Southern Writers, and into a wider territory on and off of the page. He begins with reading for place, and James Dickey's "To Blend in the Place You're In, but with a Mind to Do Something." He ends with writing for a place, an account of "two very ignorant and na?ve young writers," one of them himself, "with a sound grasp of globalization theory," hired to create a writer's workshop for McDowell County, West Virginia. In between, he offers a varied map of inspiration, from literary analyses to book reviews to interviews with writers. This is a good book for bridging the gap between readers and scholars of literature, and between scholars of literature and writers.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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