05 February 2012

Rationale: Post-1965 Southern Literature

This list provides a number of texts which will serve as direct examples and grounds for analysis, as well as complications and challenges, for the combinatory theoretical approach which begins to emerge from my theory list.

My preliminary usage of “Southern” here refers mainly to writers from the former Confederacy, writing stories which take place in that area; by post-1965, I mean both the time at which the stories were written and the time in which they take place. I have, additionally, chosen to focus on writers who, though perhaps had published before 1965, saw the bulk of their careers occur after this point.

My choice of 1965 as a starting point is tied to a number of significant events: the official expansion of the Vietnam War via the acknowledgement of US combat troops; the swearing-in of Lyndon B. Johnson and his subsequent “Great Society” speech; and the passage of the 1965 Immigrant Acts, which abolished racial quotas on immigration into the United States. It is also the year after Flannery O’Connor’s death, and three years after the death of William Faulkner.

With these things in mind, this list is therefore bounded by spatial, temporal, political, and psychological concerns - the ending (at least directly) of the dominant presences within the Southern Renaissance, the refiguring of U.S. borders and imperialism, the restructuring of the state's relationship to its citizens' futures - which echo, in situated form, the concerns of my theory list. A concern with place is thus the dominant framework for these texts - but place as necessarily and unavoidably articulated with other factors (expanded upon elsewhere) which vary in their visibility according to the specifics of each given text.

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