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Remembering Patricia Yaeger: a written roundtable.

Andy Crank

University of Alabama

THE FIELD OF LITERARY STUDIES LOST ONE OF ITS BRIGHTEST LIGHTS WHEN, on July 25, 2014, Patricia Yaeger died after a battle with ovarian cancer. While Patsy was a prominent scholar in many fields--she was editor of PMLA and a hugely influential figure in feminist, American literary, ecocritical, and film studies just to name a few--her influence in Southern studies was unparalleled.

I was in graduate school when Dirt and Desire: Reconstructing Southern Women's Writing, 1930-1990 first appeared in 2000; it was like a bomb had gone off in our discipline. In her introduction to the work, Patsy wrote that she wanted to "dynamite the rails" of the Dixie Limited with its condescending paternalism and loose definitions of essentialism, authenticity, and canon (34). That she was successful in dramatically shifting the discourse away from a white, neo-Agrarian obsession with lost empires and phantom causes is impressive enough, but how she went about her work was even more compelling to me as a young scholar. Dirt and Desire was the first monograph I encountered that succeeded largely because of its style, one of elegant determinism: Patsy knew what she wanted to say, and tied into her rhetoric was a personal investment that touched many of us deeply. I remember reading that book and thinking for the first time that I could do the kind of work I wanted to do and, most importantly, I could continue to remain invested in (and hold accountable) a field that had captivated me since my childhood. Through that one book, Patsy opened a space for a generation of scholars.

I know her influence was felt so deeply in part because when I took to the usual avenues for grief--social media, emails, conferences, and conversation with friends and colleagues--all of those I spoke with felt this same tremendous sense of loss. I knew few scholars my age who had actually had a close, personal relationship with Patsy, and yet all of us thought of her as a cherished mentor. Patsy was as much our teacher as if we had taken a seminar with her or had her direct our dissertations. Our work would not have been the same (or, indeed, have existed in many instances) without Patsy's voice leading the way. There was a sense that we should do something, anything, to articulate to ourselves and to our field the importance of Patricia Yaeger and her scholarship.

We were not alone in meditating on Patsy's impact: in January 2015, I saw Patsy's legacy firsthand when I attended her memorial session in Vancouver at MLA and heard directly from her friends, students, and colleagues. Though I knew she was a huge presence in my scholarship and professional life, I was stunned to learn her influence crossed so many boundaries, disciplines, fields, and discourses. She was truly a foundational voice and was missed terribly by countless scholars in many different fields of study. In March, I traveled to Ann Arbor for a conference celebrating her life; the gathering was appropriately titled "Patsy Yaeger: The Luminous Mind." There, I attended panels that did everything from celebrate Patsy's legacy, to articulate her influence in current scholarship, to explore ways in which one could integrate Patsy's spirit into pedagogy. It was a refreshing and invigorating day, but we all ended it with a sense of sadness. In all the voices talking about Patsy, we were painfully aware of the absence of her own.

Shortly after learning of Patsy's death in July, I reached out to several scholars in Southern studies whom I knew she had deeply influenced. All of them were more than willing to talk about her legacy and the way she supported, influenced, and enriched their professional lives, as well as how their relationship with her affected them personally. The eight scholars presented below give voice to the truth that I learned despite never having spoken with Patsy, nor exchanged emails or even a single word at a conference: there is a joy and spirit that Patsy emanated from the very core of who she is, and it is that sense of playful ecstasy, an aesthetic of whimsy and love that made her and her work so compelling, so vital. That sense of lightness and joy will ensure that Patsy's legacy will continue to touch scholars and critics alike. It will lighten our paths, and lift our hearts.

This is for Patsy:

Patsy Yaeger in Australia

Sarah Gleeson-White

University of Sydney

SORTING THROUGH MY EMAIL INBOX RECENTLY, I FOUND AN EXCHANGE with Patsy Yaeger from 2010. We had been corresponding about the keynote address--on Wall-E and trash--she'd generously agreed to deliver at the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association's biennial convention in Adelaide. She'd clearly tired of our exchange about flight and hotel reservations because in response to yet another dull organizational query from me, she replied with, simply, a link to a YouTube clip. This hilarious spoof commercial spruiks the Bronte Sisters Power Dolls (which combined form a terrifying Brontesaurus with "barrier-breaking feminist vision") who "fight evil publishers to get their books into print" using "super-disguise mustaches!" and "boomerang book-throwing action!" (Lord and Miller). There is much to enjoy about this clip, not least of all the "Empire Strikes Back" deployment of the boomerang (a traditional hunting tool of indigenous Australians), and watching it again recently, I was reminded of Patsy's own boomerang-throwing powers: her ability "to dynamite the rails" (Dirt3A), if not those of "evil publishers" then of Southern literary tradition, in particular "the spaces separating [the] tracks" of Southern and African American literary cultures (39).

It was wonderful finally to meet Patsy at that Adelaide conference after having corresponded with her by trunk call, airmail, and then email since the mid 1990s. She seemed really to enjoy her time in Australia: after Adelaide, she delivered a stunning paper, "Glamorous Debris: Women Trashing Infrastructure," at the University of Sydney, and charmed us all with her wit, style, perspicacity, and a mischievous irreverence. Patsy then made her way up north to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest; she'd been especially looking forward to "bird watching and gorge hopping," as she wrote in an email. Noel Polk, who had recently made a similar trip to Australia, encouraged me to ask Patsy about their tree-climbing adventure at some--I forget which-conference. (The mind boggles.) I wish I had. Patsy was hilariously funny and a great raconteur.

I first encountered Patsy--via her scholarship and a shared critical impatience--about twenty years ago as I was writing my PhD dissertation on Carson McCullers at the University of New South Wales. I had read, I think, just about everything there was to read about Southern women's writing. And yet, none of what I read quite made sense to me. I was unable to reconcile my own readings of Southern women's literature with the scholarship: the McCullers (and Welty and O'Connor) I was reading did in no way correlate with the McCullers (and Welty and O'Connor) whom others were reading and writing about. Was McCullers, that brilliant writer of difference and somatic rebelliousness, really writing about man's spiritual alienation? Was the scandalously outrageous O'Connor only writing about grace and forgiveness? To me, Southern women's writing was weird--wonderfully and usefully so. A little later, when I was close to concluding negotiations with a university press regarding my McCullers book manuscript, one of the then leading and quite powerful Southern studies scholars (the target of my own boomerang-throwing fantasy) intervened to block its publication: McCullers, he explained, did not warrant book-length attention. So, it was under these rather bleak conditions that I first encountered Patsy's work on Southern women's writing: her 1984 '"Because a Fire Was in My Head': Eudora Welty and the Dialogic Imagination," in which she tended closely to The Golden Apples' "emphasis on sexuality ... [which had] not been fully comprehended" (564). (If only I had discovered that essay ten years earlier as I sat through seemingly endless undergraduate lectures on white British wounded-male WWI modernism.)

However, it was Patsy's 1992 article, "Edible Labor," that spoke most powerfully to me as I wrote my McCullers dissertation. Here, she described Welty, for so long hailed as "one of our purest, finest, gentlest voices" (Tyler 147) as "that rude southern writer" ("Edible" 157). That was it. McCullers too was a rude Southern writer. And so "my" McCullers took shape and the larger project fell into place. And then, of course, came Patsy's prize-winning Dirt and Desire: Reconstructing Southern Women's Writing, 1930-1990in 2000. In her introduction to that dazzling overhaul of Southern literary studies, Patsy wondered whether it might really be possible to change the categories we use to analyze Southern literature. Well, it turned out it was indeed possible. For those of us who have worked on any aspect of Southern women's writing, it is difficult now to imagine what the field was like before Patsy rewired the ways in which we read, what we read, and what we simply, and probably willfully, missed.

One of the greatest challenges I experienced over the course of our twenty-year association was the reference Patsy recently requested I write in support of an award application. Patsy's CV is, to say the least, rather intimidating, with its many fellowships, teaching awards, book prizes and related honors, numerous publications, and of course her editorship of PMLA from 2006 to 2011. It is difficult to summarize the remarkable contribution Patsy made not just to Southern studies but also to American and cultural studies more broadly. At least as importantly, Patsy was a hugely generous mentor to younger scholars, something I still hear about again and again. In her capacity as one of my external PhD examiners, she urged me to transform my dissertation into a book. (It was Patsy, too, who would much later encourage me to pursue my Faulkner-screenplay scholarship, having heard it in embryonic form as a 2010 conference paper.) She appreciated and nurtured scholars who, and scholarship that, emerged beyond, or just did not fit into, more conventional scholarly parameters. The time, encouragement, and affirmation that Patsy provided me over the course of two decades and from across the Pacific, particularly when my career took something of a backseat to childrearing, are, I know, largely responsible for whatever I may have achieved professionally. I have so much to thank her for. I am sure we all do.

Space-walking with Patsy

Minrose Gwin

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

To walk is to lack a place.

--Michael de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life

Why do people want to visit, to dwell within, a space that is extrinsically storied or narrated? What is the lure of themed space?

--Patricia Yaeger, "Introduction: Narrating Space," The Geography of Identity (18)

TWENTY-ONE YEARS AGO: IT'S MIDSUMMER IN OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI, AND, even close to midnight, hot enough to poach if not fry an egg on the sidewalks that wind their way through the Ole Miss campus. The Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 1994 Conference is in full swing, and Patsy Yaeger and I are strolling those sidewalks drinking lukewarm beer in paper cups, trying to calm down and cool off. Neither of us is crazy about canned Budweiser, but it's the only form of alcohol we've been able to locate at the store near campus. We are tired of papers and sitting, we are tired of Faulkner and Gender, the topic of this year's conference; we need to unwind.

The campus seems deserted, muffled, eerily so. Even the frogs and cicadas have toned down to a dull roar.

"Where did everybody get off to tonight?" asks Patsy.

"I don't know. Maybe this is the night they all go off to the cemetery and sit on Faulkner's grave and drink bourbon. I'm not sure."

When does this ghoulish annual grave-sitting occur? Is it planned or spur of the moment each year? This is only my second Faulkner conference, and I haven't been invited to the sitting ritual.

Patsy stops in her tracks, her beer sloshing and spraying over my sandals, a welcome relief in this heat. "You're kidding," she says. "What's that all about? Is it a good ole boy thing?"

I tell her I don't know but, from what I've gathered, it's highly likely.

"Themed space." Patsy takes another sip and starts walking again.

Yes, I think, relieved. Yes.

Without saying a word, we both know what she's talking about. The international world of Faulkner studies of the pre-1990s had been, for the most part, pretty much the domain of white men, many of them terribly sure of their complete and utter understanding of the gendered politics of The Great Southern/American/World Writer William Faulkner.

Even then, Patsy knew a thing or two about the sexual and racial politics of space, especially US Southern spaces; and as the years would roll along, some of her most astonishing intellectual work would center on the vexations of those dynamics. Let me pause here to say that by the time we were taking this walk, I was in utter awe of Patsy: her theoretical brilliance and wit, her sophistication and kindness and exuberant language, her joie de vivre. The thing I admired most was how she embraced vexation; she loved a mess, things that were unwieldy, things that were ragged and treacherous and unruly. Whether she was writing about Southern women raising all kinds of hell or about piles of trash (I learned how to pronounce detritus from Patsy) or Disney World (themed space) or the role of the humanities in a world gobbled up by transnational capitalism, she could always spark a brilliant insight into how social relations in a frighteningly volatile and historically haunted world create and maintain certain kinds of spaces: how those spaces aren't static or empty but as volatile and full of trouble as the humans who create them, and as passionate and flawed and terrible. Her gifts to us as critics and readers and people had to do with opening our eyes to this messiness, its politics and its promise.

It is my hypothesis that what is unrepresentable about space is not only the pressure of diverse social maps multiplying space toward infinity but the additional pressure of what is hidden, encrypted, repressed, or unspoken in global and local histories. And this repression is exacerbated by the quiddity and seeming impenetrability of created social space. (Yaeger, "Introduction: Narrating Space," Geography of Identity 25)

Already, by the time we were walking that campus, she had edited a collection of essays called The Geography of Identity and written an introduction to it I had found utterly thrilling, an introduction that spurred me to take up space travels of my own. What she argues in those thirty-eight pages is that we need to pay attention to how ordinary space, personal and political, global and local, reveals and releases strangeness. We need to pay attention to this strangeness because it "has serious consequences for the work of cultural critique" (25). On the other side of this strangeness are prefabricated, prenarrated, "themed" spaces that invite "political acts of forgetting" and its consequences (18, 24).
   Clever theming guarantees coherence and readability and, as an
   ecstatic bonus, has the capacity to be embodied or expanded; themes
   promise communal plenitude and coherent extension in space. (18)

Later that week in Oxford, Patsy will give a paper about one of the strangest women characters in all of Faulkner: Drusilla Hawk of The Unvanquished. Patsy will hack a pathway through the tangles and brambles of Faulkner's briar patch of a Civil War novel-in-stories and reveal its duplicity, "its lost social ethic" ("Faulkner's 'Greek Amphora Priestess'" 222). At the heart of The Unvanquished is an "imponderable tension" that gets discharged into this white woman's body: Drusilla Hawk's body becomes "a battlefield for the derangements of local and national politics" (206, 207). The last story, "An Odor of Verbena," with its excessive, overpowering sensual appeal, presents "the unkempt, unruly, uncontrollable image of Drusilla as female grotesque (as a female body so covered with history that she must finally be jettisoned by Faulkner's story)" (222). As Drusilla explodes, Faulkner's text turns away from questions of social justice for disenfranchised African Americans and becomes in the end, although Patsy doesn't use this term, a themed space that invites forgetting. Drusilla Hawk falls apart, and so do Faulkner's early, tentative gestures toward an ethics of social justice. Theming requires fantasy.
   I'm suggesting that an incredible fantasy is held forth in this
   story--one Faulkner hardly believed in, but may have longed for
   nevertheless. This is the fantasy that the South could erase its
   history and start again, could erase the scars of the past. But
   this fantasy simply deepens an old schizophrenia. Justas black men
   lost the power to vote, so Drusilla, in the moment she adjures
   verbena, loses her power of speech and becomes the laughing, crying
   hysteric of the story's final pages.


   Focusing on her derangements we are invited to forget the greater
   derangements of the social order; focusing on her anxiety we can
   ignore the text's still greater anxiety about ceding civil rights
   to African Americans. ("Faulkner's 'Greek Amphora Priestess'" 224)

How beautifully Patsy wrote, what daring! What a joy to re-read her work! It is tempting to pull another book from my shelf and quote her some more, just to hear her voice.

While we were walking that night, Patsy talked about her new book. She was writing, she said, about Southern women and dirt. Dirt? I perked up; we walked and talked for another hour. The thing about dirt is that it doesn't have boundaries; it can fly through the sky, turn to mud and slide into the next county; it can go anywhere. It is as messy as it gets. That, of course, was why Patsy was interested; How could Southern women's writing, with its grotesque bodies and conflicted, excessive desires and toxic eroticisms, have ever been considered anything but central to the Southern literary canon? How in the world could Southern literary studies ever have segregated black and white literatures of the US South?

What happens if you dynamite the spaces separating these tracks? (Dirt 39)

What indeed? Thanks, Patsy. Walk on.

Finding Life in the Meshes: Patsy Yaeger's Legacies

Jolene Hubbs

University of Alabama

I'M RARELY GIVEN TO FANGIRL FANATICISM, BUT THAT WASN'T APPARENT AS I nervously waited for Patsy Yaeger outside an Ann Arbor lunch spot on a cold day in early 2007. After years of breathlessly reading her works and unabashedly singing her praises whenever the discussion turned to Southern literature, or women's studies, or intellectual iconoclasm, I was positively giddy upon first meeting Patsy in person. Over lunch, as we zigzagged over topics from literature to leisure, I was astounded to discover that Patsy was as deft and delightful a conversationalist as she was a critic. "It's like my bookshelf has come to life!" I gushed, marveling at finding the voice I knew so well from countless readings of Dirt and Desire sailing forth from this warm, funny, gracious woman. "We're like sisters!" Patsy responded. Sisters! And with that, Patsy dynamited the rails on which our relationship otherwise would have chugged along-the tracks separating senior scholar from junior scholar, famous writer from fawning reader--and proposed instead a kind of kinship.

Such acts of kindness extended across all the years I knew her. At a conference where Patsy was the keynote speaker, she was front and center to hear a paper I was delivering. Her emails, whether serious or silly, lit up my inbox. And even in our last phone conversation, a few months before she died, she took time to foretell my next academic successes. For my part, I was trying to put into words all of my fondness and gratitude.

Like the writers and artists about whom she wrote so eloquently, Patsy produced colorful, passionate, weird, and wonderful work. In the tradition of Southern artists like Thornton Dial and the quilters of Gee's Bend, Patsy could transform trash into art. In her keynote address at the 2011 Southern American Studies Association conference, Patsy illustrated how women trash infrastructure--her talk's topic--with sculptor Yin Xiuzhen's elaborate cityscapes fashioned out of thrown-away clothes. In her last essays, Patsy stitched together old and new bits from her writerly scrap bag, producing plush patchworks of ideas. In her 2013 Southern Spaces article on Beasts of the Southern Wild, for instance, Patsy returned to the throwaway bodies that had long concerned her, but with a difference. Bringing her longstanding attentiveness to trash together with her newer interest in ecocriticism, she showed us how, in a junked landscape of Styrofoam containers, mattresses repurposed as bridges, and fast food wrappers, the film's characters practice a "dirty ecology" ("Beasts"). Patsy made trash luminous, proving her contention that "to discard is to be haunted by rubbish" by shining her critical spotlight on our culture's racial, sexual, and ecological specters (Dirt 73).

Like the best Southern storytellers, Patsy could transport us with her words, which jump off of the page--or out of the air--and into life. Like Charles Chesnutt's Uncle Julius, Patsy told tales unearthing the cruelty beneath convention. Both writers expose "everyday haunting, the trauma of living neither in the epic nor the extraordinary but in the everyday South" by focusing on everyday objects: hams and pine planks that evoke the horrors of slavery, Coca-Cola bottles and dress scraps that convey segregation's mental and physical costs ("Ghosts" 97). Like Harry Crews, Patsy could bring out the artistry of the unlovely, dilating upon the "anarchic charm" of the grotesque until the form's "disgusting or pleasurable protuberances" seem to project from the page and poke at us (Dirt 222). In person and in prose, Patsy's capacious intellect allowed her to weave diverse strands into a dazzling whole, but in conversation, in particular, life and literature intertwined. When we chatted, Patsy leavened discussions about Faulkner's novels or O'Connor's essays with tidbits from her trip to Paris with her daughter, or her husband's reaction to her haircut. These tete-a-tetes taught me new things about Patsy, of course, but also opened up new angles on Faulkner and O'Connor.

One of Patsy's many lasting legacies will be her embodied feminism. Patsy's feminism took flesh in the myriad ways she supported junior scholars, and in particular those attentive to women writers, female protagonists, and feminist methodologies. Like others who have shared their memories of Patsy in this roundtable and elsewhere, I benefitted immensely from Patsy's excitement about and encouragement for my work. Patsy could look at the chrysalis and see the butterfly, and with this ability she helped some of my scholarly projects take flight.

Patsy's feminism was also embodied in her scholarship, which insisted upon the lived reality of women's experience--on "ideology as body and blood," as she put it (Dirt 249). Rebelling against forces physically and figuratively constricting women, Patsy celebrated women's efforts to claim and occupy space. The figures in the Southern landscape who attracted her attention weren't spindly belles but gargantuan women. Her work on Alice Randall and Kara Walker explored these artists' strategies for "taking up property, reclaiming space" through "thematic excess" ("Circum-Atlantic" 774). But my favorite illustration of her body-and-blood ideology comes from an essay called "Labial Politics." Published in 2011 amid the rising popularity of labiaplasty procedures like "the Barbie," a technique that amputates the labia minora to achieve a "clamshell" look, Patsy's essay embraces the sea slug as the labia's oceanic mascot. Combating constricting cultural forces with her gorgeous meditations on these "diaphanous, floaty, multicolored, always-undulating" creatures, Patsy recast the "spatial indelicacy of skin" as beauty rather than blemish (53).

We'll continue to encounter Patsy in her scholarship and in the fictional works she taught us to read in new ways. I found myself thinking of Patsy recently as I reread the ending of Their Eyes Were Watching God, in which Janie "pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net" and found "So much of life in its meshes" (Hurston 193). What better description of Patsy's scholarship than as a net capturing the splendors of her limitless imagination's life-teeming horizon? What more apt picture of Patsy herself than as one who, whether trawling literature or society, gender or genre, the seas or the sublime, captured so much of life in the meshes?

Barbara Ladd

Emory University

I FIRST HEARD OF PATRICIA YAEGER WHEN I WAS IN GRADUATE SCHOOL AND happened upon her essay on Eudora Welty, '"Because a Fire Was in My Head': Eudora Welty and the Dialogic Imagination" (1984). That work laid a good deal of the foundation for the work of an entire generation on American women writers. Here, in this early essay, she revises and extends the idea of a "woman's language" as theorized by Helene Cixous, Luce Irigaray, and others as a writing of and from the woman's body, profoundly different from the language of men. For Yaeger, the writing of women could also appropriate male traditions, transform phallocentric language into feminocentric language, and, in the process, chart a path toward freedom.

She certainly did so for me. As a young critic myself at the time, a woman educated at Southern institutions, drawn increasingly toward the work of Southern writers, and fascinated by the work of Eudora Welty--I had read Delta Wedding again and again over the course of four or five days, hardly stopping at the end except to pick up again at the beginning--this essay was revolutionary. Attempting to find my way within deeply patriarchal, profoundly sexist academic institutions, I had heard too much of the same thing, too many claims for the stylistic excellences of this or that woman writer, too many caveats designed to forestall real inquiry into the writing of women. "Eudora Welty and the Dialogic Imagination" changed all that.

I cannot remember when or how I first met Patsy in person, and I cannot say that I knew her well. We met at conferences, she expressed appreciation for my work, we corresponded, and she wrote letters on my behalf. But I do remember her astonishing presence, her energy, her generosity. I can conjure her now: her face, her movements, her voice. And I remember every essay, every book, I read by Patricia Yaeger, from this early work to her work on geography, on space, on the sublime, to Dirt and Desire: Reconstructing Southern Women's Writing 1930-1990 (2000), her most ambitious study in my opinion and one that brings the inquiry that inspired all of her work between the early 1980s and 2000 to fruition in an extraordinarily generative book, one whose generativity has not been adequately acknowledged. Dirt and Desire might be said, without exaggeration, to have inaugurated the return, among this generation's students of Southern literature, to the grotesque body--to the dirty, diseased, disabled, or otherwise anormative body, to the queer body, to the undead body--that constitutes the "gargantua" of Southern literature and culture. "Why?" she asks, "What causes this obsessive presence in southern literature?" (Dirt 219). She answers: in the South, a culture that revels in the "unthought known" (xii), in the rigidities of its structuring categories of race, class, and gender, the grotesque body "insists on being read": "It is ... a delicious, frightening riddle, an invitation to decipher the hierarchies, the power relations, the psychic geometries of daily southern history.... it functions as a sign of nonintegration" (248-49).

I change my mind now: I do know her well. As a scholar and critic, I am immersed in a community of those I cannot see or touch, a community made up of distant colleagues whom I see only occasionally, whose voices I hear more often on the phone than in person, whose words I read on the page or on the screen. This community includes the voices of those who have died. They leave their voices behind them; and we spend our lives among those voices. We bring them back to life in our work. Patsy's life continues in the books and essays she wrote and in the lives of those who read them.

Patsy Yaeger, A Gargantuan-Hearted Woman (1)

Rebecca Mark

Tulane University

WHEN I ENTERED THE FIELD OF SOUTHERN AND WELTY STUDIES professionally in the mid 1980s, Patsy Yaeger had already published her wonderfully groundbreaking article on Eudora Welty's "Moon Lake." That one article proved to me that women could write feminist articles on Southern literature and not just live to tell the tale but be published in PMLA no less. That this particular scholar-role-model-mentor-friend would be as smart and sassy and fashionable and outrageous and bold and imaginative and brave and still accomplish this feat was indeed news to me. If Patsy was not going to cower and placate, then neither was I. Reading her works over the years has helped many of my female graduate students follow the path of unapologetic feminists.

When Patsy wrote Dirt and Desire, she was seeking to unveil new models for Southern culture and literature, models that crossed the boundaries of gender, and sexuality, and class, and race, and dirt, and desire. She said she hoped these models would be like Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein (Dirtxvi). When people told Picasso that his portrait did not look like Gertrude, he said, "but it will." And it did. Patsy, we want you to know that your portrait of the South looked like the South from day one and is looking more and more like it as we go. Reading all of Patsy's articles and books, I knew that the field had been forever changed and that her keenly original perspective would encourage younger scholars forever. After the publication of Honey Mad Women and Dirt and Desire, Patsy wove her magic and turned swamps and brush--territory that we had barely been able to crawl through let alone navigate with expertise--into realms of infinitely regenerative metaphoric mosaics. We were home free. Unafraid, we entered the territory with Honey Mad and Dirt and Desire under our arms and found our own private hush harbors in the textual universe of every Southern woman writer.

Patricia Smith Yaeger was a foremother to me and I dare say hundreds of women and men in more ways than one. Patsy was brilliant--no doubt about that. She could imagine circles around any of us, but she was first and foremost a generous academic, with a heart so big that few in the field of women's studies, Southern studies, feminist studies, or American studies were left untouched by this big, big, gargantuan-hearted woman. She saved and influenced my career in ways that I did not even know about for years. She wrote letters for my students recommending their work to academic presses, and anyone who has read a Patsy letter knows that she took the old stuffy citadel of academia, the ivory tower full of dust and dirt and desire and stormed it with wit, compassion, and genuine excitement for ideas. She was just that kind of person, and we will miss her in so many ways, all of them the best examples of being human.

She was smart and wise, and fully alive. Patsy's genius and generosity opened the gates for scholars from all over the world. Her children and her husband should know that Patsy lives on not only through her books--those will be classics forever--but also through the depth of her compassion. A special thank you to all her family for sharing her with us. We will miss her and remember her always.

Three Memories of Patricia Yaeger

H. Stecopoulos

University of Iowa


IT'S LATE DECEMBER, 2002, AND I'M WAITING OUTSIDE A HOTEL ROOM TO interview for an Assistant Professor job in English at the University of Michigan. The possibility of landing the position seems slight--it's Michigan, after all--and I'm the last candidate of the day. The committee looks exhausted; nothing like seven or eight interviews to drain a group of scholars. And I'm hardly a model of energy myself: my thoughts uninspired, my words flat, my body slouched. We carry on in this enervated fashion for some time until I desperately try to recover by saying something outrageous about Carson McCullers and cosmopolitanism, only to receive a very direct, even piercing, look from Patricia Yaeger. My strategy had worked, but not in the way I'd hoped. Aren't race, class, and the body more primary concerns for McCullers, she asks? Shouldn't we focus more on the relationship between the writer's Southern grotesque aesthetics and her domestic concerns? What of the civil rights movement? I hem and haw, attempting to make my case, but in the end I affirm Yaeger's point by shamelessly invoking her brilliant chapter from Dirt and Desire, "Politics in the Kitchen: Roosevelt, McCullers, and Surrealist History." Yaeger smiles graciously and allows that questions of internationalism have a place in McCullers' criticism, but I have been schooled, and deservedly so.


Another MLA, a few years later, and I've decided to attend a panel that boasts the likes of Lauren Berlant, Jose Munoz, and, yes, Patricia Yaeger. The likelihood of hearing extraordinary presentations has drawn me, but so has the opportunity to see the eminent critic once again. I'd sent Yaeger a draft of an essay on McCullers a month before, and I hope to chat with her about it after the panel. The expression "stage-door Johnny" comes to mind, but I suppress my doubts in a paroxysm of ambition. Professional advancement is my raison d'etre; but before long I find my curiosity gaining the upper hand. The papers captivate me, but so does Yaeger's professional performance on a panel dominated by younger cultural studies scholars. Resplendent with her high grey hair, a silk scarf around her neck, Yaeger doesn't defer to or attempt to mimic her colleagues. Her style and her cool brook no challenges. She maintains a polite, if somewhat wry, demeanor equal parts Florida and New Haven: her Southernness wielded no less strategically than her Ivy League pedigree. And then she delivers her paper: a section from the Luminous Trash project focused on Blade Runner and the problem of the throwaway robot. Roy Batty's ontological crisis captures her critical imagination and animates her pellucid prose. Suddenly, we are there with Batty in the decrepit building, rhapsodizing about battles in far-off galaxies, waiting for the end. We know--or think we know--what it means to be thrown away. On the way out of the conference room, I say a brief "hello" and leave in a hurry.


It's 2013, and I'm living in Ann Arbor for the spring semester; my partner has a fellowship at the university. Somewhat at a loss of what to do, I email Patricia Yaeger with the hope she would be willing to meet with me. She says "yes," and so one February day I find myself having lunch with Patsy. It's the first and only meal I will ever share with her. And it's fabulous. I have no idea why she turned on the charm and listened so attentively to my lunchtime rambling, but I sense that this was the way she treated everyone. Patsy practiced inclusive listening better than most. Our conversation ranged across a number of topics, from her book on the paradox of alluring disposability to the persistent value of close reading--one of her many virtuoso scholarly skills--to the challenge of forging a new Southern studies. We speak of Faulkner and O'Connor, Welty (one of her favorites), and Wright, and the problem of regional literature. At her most generous, she listens to me as I discuss my new book project. This all-too-brief meal made literary studies seem important and luminous. Critics mattered! And we mattered because we read persistently, rigorously, obsessively--and then shared our responses with the same passion over chef's salad and iced tea. Patsy's hospitality suggested that one had been admitted to an intellectual world at once comfortable and dynamic, a place of convivial energy and unexpected ideas. To be Patsy's guest was to be a student eager to talk, delighted to learn, forever hoping for one more extraordinary conversation.

Setting Off the Yaeger Bomb

James H. Watkins

Berry College

MAKING SENSE OF UNEXPECTED NEWS ABOUT THE LOSS OF SOMEONE YOU knew, if only as a casual acquaintance, and admired is made all the more difficult when that person seemed to embody, like very few people I have ever known, the capacity for living life to the fullest. And that is what Patsy Yaeger did. In her conversation, her gestures and mannerisms, her ability to engage with people on their own terms, as well as in her prodigious professional accomplishments and intellectual achievements, she exuded unalloyed enthusiasm and passion that was tempered only by her graciousness and humility. And she did so in a way that gleefully knocked down the artificial partitions between work and play, intellect and feeling, the academy and the "real world." I had this impression of Patsy already, but when she came to Berry College, where I teach, as a featured speaker for the Southern Women Writers Conference in 2005, she demonstrated these qualities in some particularly memorable ways.

I had the pleasure of first meeting Patsy in the early 1990s when she was visiting her hometown of Gainesville, Florida. Anne Goodwyn Jones had arranged for Patsy to meet with some of her students at the University of Florida and give a brief presentation on her current research project. I must have expected to find a musty academician standing before us, lifting her head briefly from her scholarly activities to enlighten us before delving back into the world that truly interested her, but what we found in that tiny symposium room sitting right with us at the table was a charming, funny, and very engaging person who seemed to actually be interested in what we thought of her ideas, in this case, on the subversive power of outlandish female bodies in Southern women's writing. For all her erudition and acuity, what impressed me most was the intensely personal way she spoke about her project, confessing that she was so obsessed with and enthralled by these sites of the female grotesque that she had trouble putting on her critic's hat and thinking about them objectively. But as she demonstrated in "Beyond the Hummingbird: The Southern Gargantua," which appeared first in Susan Donaldson and Anne Jones' edited anthology Haunted Bodies (1997) before its inclusion as a chapter in Dirt and Desire (2000)--she was quite capable of theorizing this literary motif and opening the way for other scholars in this field.

Some twenty years later, when I saw her speak for the last time, at the Southern American Studies Association conference in Atlanta in 2011, she exhibited this same mixture of humility and exuberance as she treated her rapt audience to a characteristically brilliant lecture on "luminous trash" in a "post-consumerist" society whose choices are increasingly circumscribed by the limits of what we can dispose of rather than the limits of what we can consume. Evidently, her work as editor of PMLA and all her other scholarly accomplishments of the previous two decades had not diminished her capacity for delight or humility. This was reassuring, but not surprising, as I recalled her infectious enthusiasm and generosity of spirit on display at Berry College in 2005.

The theme of the conference that year was Southern Women Writers and the World, and the lecture Patsy gave on mother's milk and the logic of excess in Kara Walker's art and contemporary plantation literature set within and without the US worked very well with the conference theme. More importantly, though, Patsy proved to be the ideal speaker as she consistently made herself available to students, conference attendees, and the other speakers throughout her time there. As conference co-director, I had been mildly apprehensive about letting two of my more spirited undergraduate students meet her at the Atlanta airport some seventy-five miles away and drive her to campus. But my worries disappeared when Amanda and Sarah reported to me that our speaker had been delivered safely and happily to her room at the college's guest cottages. When I asked how things went, their faces lit up as they looked at each other and started laughing. "She's awesome, Dr. Watkins," they said. They then proceeded to tell me about how, when they told Patsy they wanted to get chicken biscuits before leaving Atlanta, she said she had never heard of that (for younger readers or those who haven't lived in the South for a long time, it is a relative newcomer to mainstream Southern cuisine) but she emphatically agreed, she simply must try it. However, this led to them becoming lost in a part of Atlanta that was not particularly safe and a few misadventures transpired before they found their way back to the interstate. This bonding experience resulted in Sarah and Amanda giving Patsy the sobriquet "the Yaeger Bomb" (punning on the popular and powerful club drink made with Jagermeister). When I saw Patsy later that day, I asked apologetically about what sounded like a stressful ride but she cut me off quickly, saying how much she loved the students, the chicken biscuit, and the entire adventure. Then she said, "And now I'm the Yaeger Bomb!" In fact, that pleased her so much that in her opening remarks during her lecture the next day she mentioned her new name and how much she loved it.

During the lifetime of the now defunct Southern Women Writers Conference, we had a few speakers who elected to maintain their privacy, some even avoiding much contact with other featured speakers, but Patsy belonged to that special group of speakers who attended break-out sessions as well as plenary events, socialized with other noted writers and conference attendees, and graciously gave time to students. My favorite memory of her that weekend--and the one that gives me the most solace as I think with sadness of her untimely demise--is when she attended a concert by Ann Savoy and her band, The Magnolia Sisters, and took her turn at Cajun dancing. I have to confess, there weren't many in the audience that knew how to do real Cajun dancing, but that did not stop some of us from giving it our best, and there in the thick of things, swirling, laughing, and just having fun letting her hair down, was Patsy.

Jay Watson

University of Mississippi


OVER THE PAST MONTHS I HAVE BEEN drawn repeatedly to the marvelous Rich Miller photo of Patsy Yaeger that ran alongside her obituary notice in the October 2014 issue of PMLA ("In Memoriam" 870). Others will find their own sources of consolation and ache in what a friend of mine would call the "perfect personality capture" at work in this image. What pulls me in, uncannily, is the slight lift of her left foot, caught, no doubt, mid-tap. I have seen, and heard, that tap--behind podiums, beneath restaurant tables and office desks, in close conference in crowded rooms. It gets at the heart of Patsy's irrepressible energy and joie de vivre, her knack for being in the moment but always ranging just a bit impatiently ahead of it as well. Not that there was anything ungenerous about that impatience. Indeed, though Patsy was usually

the most interesting person in the room wherever she was, she had a remarkable, unfeigned ability to make you feel singularly interesting as well. That little tap was part of it. She was already looking forward to the next thing you would say, confident in your ability to stimulate, challenge, and delight her. And buoyed by that anticipation of delight, you would. I like to think that the seated, sculpted figure in the photo is basking in a bit of that glow, even as her hand rests so whimsically-yet-squarely atop his head. When it came to life's pleasures, surprises, ironies, Patsy didn't deprive herself. She didn't leave much on the table. She was always poised, as here, to stride ahead toward the next item in the banquet.

Allow me to share a memory of another gesture that captures this impetuous exuberance. In 1994 Patsy made her debut at the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference, then beginning its third decade at the University of Mississippi, in William Faulkner's hometown of Oxford, where I live and teach. For Patsy, the engagement with Southern women writers and their place within the field of Southern literary studies--the work already building toward Dirt and Desire--demanded a reckoning with Faulkner, and her own inability to disavow her love for Faulkner any more than she could deny her frequent exasperation with him insured that this reckoning would be complex, ambivalent, and important. At the same time, the Faulkner studies community, long invested in hagiography, was becoming more receptive to the intellectual yields such vexed engagements could bring. So when Patsy stepped to the podium, poured herself a glass of ice water, and began to speak on Faulkner's Civil War novel The Unvanquished, everyone in the room recognized the auspiciousness of the occasion. The opening remarks offered a dazzling critique of a recently unveiled digital imaging technology that could virtually erase the marks of history from women's faces--vintage Yaeger. Then, on reaching her transition into the Faulkner material, she paused for a drink of water ... and proceeded to chomp away zestily at the ice cubes. Realizing that the microphone was picking up the crunching sounds, she chuckled at herself--and kept right on chewing, for several more delicious seconds. The laughter that rippled through the auditorium wasn't in response to the breach of scholarly seriousness so much as to Patsy's own delight in the goofy incongruity of the moment. She had us at hello. At the memorial session for Patsy at MLA in Vancouver, Marianne Hirsch affectionately noted Patsy's penchant for behaving badly. On the one hand, she couldn't help it; it was temperamentally wired into that irrepressible personality. On the other hand, it was strategic, part of her methodology: a way to provoke, test, unsettle, and learn. It was also, as in Oxford, part of her charm.

My own introduction to that audacious, mischievous sensibility came not in 1994 but seven years earlier, when I was assigned as a graduate teaching assistant to Patsy's Southern Women Writers course at Harvard, where she taught in the History and Literature program. Our paths had not crossed before then, though I had heard her mentioned a few times around the English department and knew she had recently published an essay in PMLA. (Graduate students took note of such things.) In the rarefied air of Harvard, the class was a revelation, and Patsy's example thrilled and changed me as a teacher and a scholar. At the podium, she cut a striking figure: long, lean, decked out in leather pants and boots, dramatic, flamboyant scarves, and best of all, that punked-out china doll haircut, razored off halfway up the neck and somehow even edgier for the rogue strand of gray. (My non-academic wife still marvels, "She always had the best hair!") She brought theory into the undergraduate classroom--Lacan, Irigaray, Kristeva, Habermas, Jameson, Scarry--and made it exciting, a little dangerous, rather than dry and abstruse. And the stories she told! I may be revealing more about myself than about her by recounting this, but Patsy was the first person I ever heard talk about getting a massage. I don't mean the ubiquitous massage "therapy" of today--no, it was old-school deep-tissue bliss she was extolling that morning, with a shiver of discovery and confession that widened the eyes of the undergraduates and a T.A. or two as well. At the reception following the Vancouver session, I was trying to convince myself and a colleague that I really did remember Patsy coming breathlessly into class one morning and launching into a vivid monologue about a drag ball that she had attended the previous evening, when up on the video screen, as if conjured by my words, popped a snapshot of a beaming Patsy modeling her costume for what the caption called "a drag ball in Boston." What I'm getting at here--preaching to the converted, no doubt--is that Patsy brought her whole personality with her into the classroom: not just her intelligence but her body, her life, her obsessions. In Vancouver, Margaret Ferguson celebrated Patsy's "huge talent for getting students to think." But that's only half of it. She also got them to perceive and to feel, in large part through her own contagious example. In the contemporary academy of study abroad, service projects, and experiential learning, we like to speak of teaching to "the whole student," to remind ourselves that the young men and women in the lecture hall or around the seminar table are more than minds alone. With her sensuous, affective pedagogy, Patsy walked that walk years before there was a talk for it.

From Patsy I also learned that, in addition to fostering student reflection, judgment, discovery, and aspiration, teaching can become a form of passionate argument--that indeed, sometimes it must argue. I had come to Harvard, I believed, to study British romanticism, but the experience, my first extended period outside the South, was showing me that other people, like the friends and cohorts who peppered me with questions about Georgia, about music and violence and weather and food and racial politics and the accent I didn't know I had, found the South, which I had never thought much about, endlessly interesting. I realize this sounds like a cliche plagiarized from Faulkner, but I did a lot of telling about the South at Harvard, and it kindled a new desire to understand what the fuss was all about. And this led me from Wordsworth and Keats to Southern writing. One consequence of this switch was that, with few of my professors teaching Southern literature and even fewer writing about it, I got the lion's share of my scholarly mentoring from the library stacks, from the venerable names whose essays and monographs had mapped the contours and established the disciplinary legitimacy of Southern studies--or what some now call the "old" Southern studies. I had little purchase on these names. They had, after all, given me what meager knowledge I possessed of the field. So to come to the very first meeting of the Southern Women Writers class and hear some of those very names called out--not acrimoniously, but firmly--for neglecting the region's women writers or, worse, for damning them with faint praise, dismissing their achievements in the short story as minor and slight, removing them from history into the domestic, the miniature, the ladylike, all grievances we are now familiar with from Dirt and Desire : this was a shock and a great blessing. Beyond its immediate resonance for the class's large majority of women students, it also began to put me on a more critical and constructive footing with the discourse of Southern studies. For that wake-up call I could never thank Patsy enough.

To say that teaching for Patsy was a formative experience would be the understatement of the year. It also gave me a new ally, an advocate, a sounding-board, and the best reader I ever had. Like many others, I can attest to the pleasures and rewards of having Patsy for an editor. I can also point to one memorable occasion when I got to be hers.

In 1996 my colleague Ivo Kamps and I founded a new journal published by the English Department at the University of Mississippi. The journal's stated goal, as laid out in the brief manifesto we ran as a preface to the debut issue, was to combat the grinding earnestness that, we felt, plagued contemporary scholarship in our fields, by bringing a commitment to intellectual pleasure back to the intellectual work of literary and cultural studies. We didn't see why great scholarship couldn't also be fun. As such, we sought out essays that delivered "the sort of writing that thrills, delights, and surprises" (Kamps and Watson 1) and we tasked our manuscript reviewers with making pleasure an explicit criterion for acceptance and publication. We also instituted a new sort of review-essay, which ran as a regular feature of the journal under the heading, "Reading for Pleasure." These were to be omnibus reviews, not necessarily field-specific, bringing together recent publications of merit that additionally kindled the elusive spark or "buzz" we placed at the heart of the journal's mission. The name of the publication, Journal x, was an attempt to capture the open spirit and ongoing nature of our project, to let the unknown variable evoke an academic experiment very much in progress, outcome unforeseen. From the start, we envisioned Patsy as a key member of our editorial board, a scholar likely to be receptive to the intellectual journey we proposed to take and eager to help us extract the lessons learned along the way--a scholar, indeed, whose own work so powerfully attests to what she called "the sheer delight of thinking" (Yaeger, "Consuming Trauma" 237). And listen to our description of the ideal "Reading for Pleasure" contributor: "we are looking for polymaths, people who read widely in a number of fields and for a variety of motives: intellectual, aesthetic, political, personal, and otherwise. We seek generous readers with nimble minds, readers who are forthright, unapologetic, and eloquent about their pleasure(s)" (Kamps and Watson 4). It's a veritable word-portrait of Patsy. (Indeed, there have been times when I have wondered whether that's precisely what it was.) As the journal slowly came together, two of my most gratifying moments as co-editor were recruiting Patsy for the board and commissioning her to write the second "Reading for Pleasure" essay, for the spring 1997 issue.

For that latter assignment, Patsy behaved badly. The result, "Consuming Trauma; or, The Pleasures of Merely Circulating," has become a classic, whose afterlife in the fields of trauma studies, African American studies, and prison studies has significantly outstripped the brief history of Journal x itself. In "Consuming Trauma," Patsy made trouble for the "Reading for Pleasure" series, and for the critical agenda of Journal x, by refusing to entertain the question of pleasure in intellectual work apart from the human suffering, damage, and death upon which that work, and hence that pleasure, is so often predicated. She would not--could not--separate the two. Here is her central statement of the problem:
   liberal academics ... reproduce for themselves and their students
   stories of trauma, structural violence, systematic injustice,
   slaughter, inequality. These painful stories ... suggest a world of
   subsemantic history that demands the weight of political speech. At
   the same time (or within the same heterodox space but under another
   name) we inhabit an academic world that is busy consuming
   trauma--busy eating, swallowing, perusing, consuming, exchanging,
   circulating, creating professional connections--through its stories
   about the dead. We are obsessed with stories that must be passed
   on, that must not be passed over. But aren't we also drawn to these
   stories from within an academic culture driven by its own
   economies: by the pains and pleasures of needing to publish, by
   salaries and promotions that are themselves driven by acts of
   publication, by, among other forces, the pleasures of merely
   circulating? (228)

And here is the key question she distills from this dilemma: given the urgency of excavating and honoring lost histories, the danger of commodifying the trauma of others, or of slipping into inert or even pleasurable forms of "academic melancholy," "What do we owe to the dead?" (227). It is a question at once epistemological and ethical, whose insistence both drives and anchors "Consuming Trauma," one she asks again and again in different but always pointed ways. "How are we allowed to taste the dead's bodies, to put their lives in our mouths?" (228). "How far should we go in invoking the ghost, how far in consuming its traumas? If circulating the suffering of others has become the meat and potatoes of our profession ... then how should we proceed?" (229). Patsy decides, after long and gripping reflection, that we owe the dead a less masterful account of their acts and voices, a more nervous, unsure reckoning with their motives and meanings. We owe them due recognition not only of their agency but of their victimization or their stubborn incoherence, the opaqueness that forces us in turn to recognize our own limits as critics who routinely call up the specter to serve our political ends, professional needs, or personal desires. We owe them the swervings, stutters, and stumbles that result when putting their lives in our mouths means mixing our voices with theirs.

The hard-hitting questions and hard-won answers of "Consuming Trauma" were prompted not only by a group of recent monographs in anthropology and cultural studies but by material from the inaugural issue of Journal x as well. They were put not just broadly to the profession but directly to the journal itself. Patsy thus took an omnibus review assignment and made it into a second manifesto speaking both for and to Journal x, an admonitory call to the aspiring upstarts responsible for the journal's direction and content to grow up, get serious, and take full responsibility for all that the pleasures of thinking entail in the contemporary academy and beyond. At times this tough love was right out in the open:
   how does excitement about new ideas (part of Journal x's motive in
   creating a journal focused on pleasure) depend on the specter, rest
   on the spectral properties--the tropics--of the dead? (236)

   Turning from [Barry] Gildea's essay on hanged men to Gregory
   Ulmer's playful and erudite "Exhibit X: Hoopla Dreams" [the first
   installment of "Reading for Pleasure"], I felt lost. Is it
   permissible to make this trek from trauma to pleasure by just
   turning a page? What is the status of academic consumerism, of a
   world of words where we can channel-surf from trauma to pleasure
   and back again with so little cost? (246)

   What do we look for when we seek out the "x"? Do we seek the
   pleasure of the spectral unknown, or its burden? Perhaps, as a way
   of short-circuiting the proprietorship of this name, the "x" must
   resonate in both contexts, "between two echoes." (249)

Yet the critical edge here also reveals Patsy at her most characteristically big-hearted and humane. For as she confided during the composition of "Consuming Trauma," she had considered resigning from the editorial board in the wake of the debut issue, so dismayed was she at that essay on "hanged men" and the interpretive liberties she felt it took, the insufficient reckoning it offered with the specter of systemic jail death in Mississippi. Her concern was spot-on: neither author nor editors had adequately grappled with the responsibility to trauma that accompanied that essay's obvious delight in thinking. Rather than walk away, however, Patsy did something more arduous and generative. She gave Journal x a compass and a conscience. So it seems she was my editor again after all.

It's also characteristic of Patsy that every question that "Consuming Trauma" directs to the profession doubles down as a challenge the author poses to herself. It was her own conscience she was pricking as much as the journal's. Nobody, after all, felt "the spectacular lure of analysis" (237) or knew the joy of intellectual play more than Patsy. So she used "Consuming Trauma" to take a hard look in the same mirror she held up to the academy as a whole. On the same page where she takes Journal x to task for neglecting its constitutive stake in trauma, for instance, she unflinchingly acknowledges that, by summoning the specter of Steven Biko to kick-start her essay rhetorically, she has herself colluded in the textualization of the dead (236-37). Her concern whether "the outsourcing of pain into the traumatic narratives we read and write so freely" might have the undesirable effect of fostering "safely pleasurable source[s] of self-shattering" (248) doubtless stemmed from her own experience, regularly recounted in her writing and teaching, of being shattered--flayed and transported, ruptured and raptured--by her reading, nowhere more so than in the grotesque body of Southern women's literature that so enthralled and provoked her. And in reflecting on the constitutive investments and transferences that shape the critical encounter with pleasure and trauma (237), she must have had her own investments in mind, knowing full well that her reaction to the Mississippi jail hangings was conditioned in part by her love and fear for the young son she had recently adopted, the son whom she thought about naming after Biko, and whom, in a haunting anecdote she pronounced "a parable," she gave the last word of "Consuming Trauma" (250).

Here, though, as my own last word approaches, I need to be on guard against my own displays of ventriloquism and clairvoyance, mindful of how far I should go in invoking this ghost, whose blessing I continue to seek and need. Better, then--more honest--to close with something I know for certain, which is my own bittersweet grief. Or as Patsy might have put it, "the stinging pleasure" (250)--still thrilling and consoling, still dangerous--of mingling her words with mine, of passing her life through my mouth.

Works Cited

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.

"In Memoriam." PMLA 129.4 (2014): 868, 870.

Kamps, Ivo, and Jay Watson. "Editors' Preface." Journal x 1.1 (Autumn 1996): 1-4.

Lord, Phil, and Chris Miller. "Bronte Sisters Power Dolls." Online video clip. YouTube. 4 May 2010. Web. 1 July 2015.

Tyler, Anne. "The Fine Full World of Welty." Friendship and Sympathy: Communities of Southern Women Writers. Ed. Rosemary M. Magee. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1992. 142-53.

Yaeger, Patricia. "Beasts of the Southern Wild and Dirty Ecology." Southern Spaces 13 Feb. 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.

--. '"Because a Fire Was in My Head': Eudora Welty and the Dialogic Imagination." PMLA 99.5 (1984): 955-73. Rpt. in Mississippi Quarterly 39.4 (1986): 561-86.

--. "Circum-Atlantic Superabundance: Milk as World-Making in Alice Randall and Kara Walker." American Literature 18A (2006): 769-98.

--. "Consuming Trauma; or The Pleasures of Merely Circulating." Journal x 1.2 A (Spring 1997): 225-51.

--. Dirt and Desire: Reconstructing Southern Women s Writing, 19301990. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000.

--. "Edible Labor." Southern Quarterly 30.2-3 (1992): 150-59.

--. "Faulkner's 'Greek Amphora Priestess': Verbena and Violence in The Unvanquished." Faulkner and Gender: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 1994. Ed. Donald M. Kartiganer and Ann J. Abadie. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1996. 197-227.

--, ed. The Geography of Identity. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1996.

--. "Ghosts and Shattered Bodies, or What Does it Mean To Still Be Haunted by Southern Literature?" South Central Review 22.1 (2005): 87-108.

--. "Labial Politics." True Confessions: Feminist Professors Tell Stories Out of School. Ed. Susan Gubar. New York: Norton, 2011. 51-57.

(1) This essay originally appeared in The Society for the Study of Southern Literature's Newsletter (48.2, November 2014):
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Author:Crank, Andy; Gleeson-White, Sarah; Gwin, Minrose; Hubbs, Jolene; Ladd, Barbara; Mark, Rebecca; Steco
Publication:The Mississippi Quarterly
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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