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A web of words: the great dialogue of Southern literature

Gray, R (2007) A web of words: the great dialogue of Southern literature. Mercer University Lamar memorial lectures, 50 . University of Georgia Press. ISBN 9780820330051

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Abstract

Richard Gray is known as both a leading European scholar in American literature and a leading international scholar of the literature of the American South. Through numerous examples drawn from southern literature, a historically conscious body of writing clearly in conversation with itself, Gray helps us to understand how any literary tradition involves an open conversation between its texts--a web of words that stretches from the local to the transnational.To read a southern story, poem, or play, Gray says, is to access a multitude of texts: surrounding, indwelling, echoing voices that exist within, and because of, a confluence of other voices. Gray first brings this idea alive by mapping the rhetoric of defeat across southern texts, with particular focus on those about the war in Vietnam. He then turns to another persistent topic in the great dialogue of southern literature: agrarianism and its viability as an alternative to globalism. Finally, Gray charts three different intertextual practices involving writings both within and outside the South. One involves a transatlantic dialogue between the fiction of Eudora Welty and European folktale; one a conversation between the indisputably southern William Faulkner and Toni Morrison, whose regional ties are more fluid and equivocal; and one the transnational dialogue on immigration and the changing ethnic makeup of the South.By talking, and listening, to many other writers, inside and outside the region, southern writers turn the intertextual space of their literature into a border territory. Their texts come to exist in an endless dialogue in which meaning is constantly being repositioned and redefined.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2012 12:06
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 18:13
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2226

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