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A Backward Glance: The Southern Renascence, the Autobiographical Epic, and the Classical Legacy
Contributor(s): Millichap, Joseph R. (Author)

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ISBN: 1572336595     ISBN-13: 9781572336599
Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
OUR PRICE: $41.95  

Binding Type: Hardcover
Published: March 2009

Annotation: Many have glanced at relationships between two, and sometimes even all three, of the phenomena Millichap (emeritus English, Western Kentucky U.) examines, but none have traced out the connections in detail and at length until now, he says. After describing the autobiographical epic as a genre, he samples seven practitioners of it in the American South from Allan Tate's recovered memories to Ralph Ellison before and after Invisible Man. Others include Caroline Gordon and the heroic cycles, Thomas Wolfe's odyssey and anabasis in O Lost, and father figures and dead languages in Robert Penn Warren. Earlier versions of all the chapters have been tested before live audiences. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Literary Criticism | American - General
Dewey: 810.997
LCCN: 2008039663
Physical Information: 0.9" H x 6.3" W x 9.2" (1.10 lbs) 240 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
This is the first book-length work to examine how major figures of southern literary modernism--Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Caroline Gordon, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, and Thomas Wolfe--refigured elements of classicism in the Southern Renascence. Specifically, Joseph R. Millichap demonstrates how these writers created modernist fiction and poetry even as they were indebted to classical languages, themes, structures, and genres. The title refers to Allen Tate's formulation: "With the war of 1914-1918, the South reentered the world--but gave a backward glance as it stepped over the border; that backward glance gave us the Southern Renascence, a literature conscious of the past in the present." A Backward Glance begins by establishing the historical background of the Southern Renascence and the theoretical contexts of the autobiographical epic in relation to the classical legacy of the southern modernist movement. For Millichap the autobiographical epic is a trope--not a genre--a text, or a group of texts that re-creates the personal life of its author in narrative structures ordered, to some extent, by allusion to or intertextuality with the ancient epos or mythos, while still locating both the life and work within the contexts of their contemporary culture. Devoting a chapter to each author, Millichap considers works of writers that exemplify the confluences of the autobiographical epic and the classical legacy within the framework of the Southern Renascence. Extrapolating from these seven writers and their selected works to more recent southern literature, Millichap adds an epilogue that ponders the continuing significance of the Southern Renascence, theautobiographical epic, and the classical legacy for today's "post-southernism."

Contributor Bio(s):
Frances L. Ansley is Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville. She is the author of numerous book chapters and the principal humanities adviser to a documentary film. Her articles have been published in the California Law Review, Cornell Journal of International Law, Georgetown Journal of Poverty Law & Policy, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor & Employment Law, and numerous additional publications.

Jon Shefner is associate professor of sociology and director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Global Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the coeditor of Out of the Shadows: Political Action and the Informal Economy in Latin America. His recent book is The Illusion of Civil Society: Democratization and Community Mobilization in Low-Income

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