Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity

Paperback | January 15, 2007

byJames C. Cobb

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From the seventeenth century Cavaliers and Uncle Tom's Cabin to Civil Rights museums and today's conflicts over the Confederate flag, here is a brilliant portrait of southern identity, served in an engaging blend of history, literature, and popular culture. In this insightful book, writtenwith dry wit and sharp insight, James C. Cobb explains how the South first came to be seen--and then came to see itself--as a region apart from the rest of America. As Cobb demonstrates, the legend of the aristocratic Cavalier origins of southern planter society was nurtured by both northern and southern writers, only to be challenged by abolitionist critics, black and white. After the Civil War, defeated and embittered southern whites incorporated theCavalier myth into the cult of the "Lost Cause," which supplied the emotional energy for their determined crusade to rejoin the Union on their own terms. After World War I, white writers like Ellen Glasgow, William Faulkner and other key figures of "Southern Renaissance" as well as their AfricanAmerican counterparts in the "Harlem Renaissance"--Cobb is the first to show the strong links between the two movements--challenged the New South creed by asking how the grandiose vision of the South's past could be reconciled with the dismal reality of its present. The Southern self-imageunderwent another sea change in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, when the end of white supremacy shook the old definition of the "Southern way of life"--but at the same time, African Americans began to examine their southern roots more openly and embrace their regional, as well as racial,identity. As the millennium turned, the South confronted a new identity crisis brought on by global homogenization: if Southern culture is everywhere, has the New South become the No South? Here then is a major work by one of America's finest Southern historians, a magisterial synthesis that combines rich scholarship with provocative new insights into what the South means to southerners and to America as well.

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From the Publisher

From the seventeenth century Cavaliers and Uncle Tom's Cabin to Civil Rights museums and today's conflicts over the Confederate flag, here is a brilliant portrait of southern identity, served in an engaging blend of history, literature, and popular culture. In this insightful book, writtenwith dry wit and sharp insight, James C. Cobb e...

James C. Cobb is B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Georgia. A former president of the Southern Historical Association, he has written numerous of award-winning books and articles, including The Most Southern Place on Earth, which was a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Award.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 1.18 inPublished:January 15, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195315812

ISBN - 13:9780195315813

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Cavalier and Yankee: The Origins of Southern "Otherness"2. The South Becomes a Cause3. The New South and the Old Cause4. The Southern Renaissance and the Revolt Against the New South Creed5. Southern Writers and "The Impossible Load of the Past"6. The Mind of the South7. The South of Guilt and Shame8. No North, No South? The Crisis of Southern White Identity9. "Successful, Optimistic, Prosperous, and Bland": Telling about the No South10. Blackness and Southernness: African Americans Look South Toward Home11. Divided by a Common Past: History and Identity in the Contemporary South12. The South and the Politics of IdentityNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"A tour de force from one of the South's premier historians. James Cobb shows, with characteristic wit and acuity, how a distinctive regional identity from the time of Jamestown to the Iraq war depended not just on how white and black southerners thought of themselves, but also on what othersthought of Dixie." --Anthony J. Badger, author of The New Deal: The Depression Years 1933- 1940 and co-author of Race in the American South