A Certain Slant of Light: Regionalism and the Form of by David Marion Holman

By David Marion Holman

In a definite Slant of sunshine, David Marion Holman examines prolific local American literatures - these of the South and the Midwest - from approximately 1832 to 1925. through targeting the position historical past performed within the imaginations of chosen writers of that interval, he seeks to reply to a perennial query: what's "midwestern" approximately midwestern literature, and what's "southern" approximately southern literature? not less than till 1910, Holman says, the fiction of the 2 areas used to be characterised by way of very diverse modes - romance within the South and social realism within the Midwest. For the southerner, the previous was once the plantation, the aristocrat, and the Civil battle. Even in writing in regards to the current, the southern author, Holman keeps, needed to confront, at once or ultimately, the ghosts of the earlier - ghosts which may be exorcised, vilified, or romanticized, yet by no means missed. For the midwestern author, the prior was once the pioneer and the settling of the frontier - a previous of promise unfulfilled and unattained. The midwestern delusion right away glorified the typical guy because the promise of the US and deplored him as venal and narrow-minded. via 1925 modernism had develop into an enormous strength in American letters, offering the following new release of writers - maybe most sensible represented through Hemingway within the Midwest and Faulkner within the South - with new methods of confronting previous ideologies, and those writers synthesized a few of the premises of romance and realism.

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A southerner or a midwesterner sees what other Americans see, but also attaches a regional importance to the event; and all of us, whatever our allegiance, can see other Americans as southerners and midwestern- 1. Shelby Foote, The Civil War. , 1974), III, 946. 2. Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant (New York, 1886), 630. Page 9 ers, and so can participate in their regional evaluations. We expect the southerner to see in the Appomattox meeting the fall of discrete culture and its eventual replacement by industrial conformity.

Whether in the hospital or at home, Hugh Holman would need continuing personal, intensive attention. Verna Holman was herself in poor health. Dave did not hesitate. He put aside his dissertation, moved back to Chapel Hill, arranged to teach part-time in the English Department where his father had taught for so many years, and for the next eighteen months he spent a major portion of his time and energy at his father's side. It was during those years1979 through 1981that I came to know Dave. His father and I had been close friends, as well as coeditors of a journal and fellow academic conspirators in general.

8 Even so, I would agree that both terms, section and region, are part of the study of regionalism, and as Turner first used them to describe place and thought, they are the two truly inseparable concepts from which any idea of regionalism must proceed. I am interested here in literary and cultural regionalism rather than in the statistical studies of geographers and social scientists. Such studies are concerned with facts; I am concerned with fictions. The facts are, of course, important to fictions, but only insofar as they help to explain the births and the fictive nature of regional mythologies.

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