By Richard H. King
A learn of an incredible cultural circulate, this article indicates how Southern writers of 1930 to 1955 attempted to come back to phrases with Southern culture. It discusses the ensuing physique of vital literature - fiction, poetry, memoirs and ancient writing.
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Extra info for A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the American South, 1930-1955
In both instances, the past is problematic: now overpowering, now completely absent from memory, it is debilitating. What had been assumed as "mine" now appears as "other" and strange. In the final stage this "otherness" is demystified and reassimilated after having been worked through. It is incorporated into a new synthesis. The movement is from incapacitating repetition to recollection and then to self-consciousness, from identity to estrangement and back to incorporation at a higher level. Beyond Nietzsche's monumental and critical forms of historical consciousness, a new form—the analytic or the ironic—emerges.
35 If the Southern family romance placed the father-son relationship at its center, the white woman was expected to play the role of the mother. As mistress of the plantation she was the lady bountiful, caring for the wants and needs of her family, both white and black. A prime, though late, example of this characterization is Ellen O'Hara, Scarlett's mother in Gone With the Wind. The Southern woman was caught in a social double-bind: toward men she was to be submissive, meek and gentle; with the children and slaves and in the management of the household, she was supposed to display competence, initiative, and energy.
The region historically lacked a "vigorous and independent class of town dwellers" (though Southern cities were growing); and the process of "getting rid of agriculture as a major social activity . . taming the agrarian sector" had been only partially completed. The South seemed to be engaged in a halting economic development "without changing the social struc, "ft ture. ° In Southern politics, as in race relations, the iSgos was the crucial decade. The first six years of the decade saw a growing agrarian insurgency culminate in the emergence of a mass political movement, Populism.