Dirt And Desire: Reconstructing Southern Women's Writing, 1930-1990

Paperback | July 5, 2000

byPatricia Yaeger

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The story of southern writing—the Dixie Limited, if you will—runs along an iron path: an official narrative of a literature about community, about place and the past, about miscegenation, white patriarchy, and the epic of race. Patricia Yaeger dynamites the rails, providing an entirely new set of categories through which to understand southern literature and culture.

For Yaeger, works by black and white southern women writers reveal a shared obsession with monstrosity and the grotesque and with the strange zones of contact between black and white, such as the daily trauma of underpaid labor and the workings of racial and gender politics in the unnoticed yet all too familiar everyday. Yaeger also excavates a southern fascination with dirt—who owns it, who cleans it, and whose bodies are buried in it.

Yaeger's brilliant, theoretically informed readings of Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, Flannery O'Connor, Alice Walker, and Eudora Welty (among many others) explode the mystifications of southern literary tradition and forge a new path for southern studies.

The book won the Barbara Perkins and George Perkins Award given by the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature.

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From Our Editors

This official narrative of the history of Southern writing by Patricia Yaeger discusses white patriarchy and the epic of race. In this edition of Dirt and Desire Reconstructing Women's Writing, Yaeger uses works by black and white southern women writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Alice Walker, Eudora ...

From the Publisher

The story of southern writing—the Dixie Limited, if you will—runs along an iron path: an official narrative of a literature about community, about place and the past, about miscegenation, white patriarchy, and the epic of race. Patricia Yaeger dynamites the rails, providing an entirely new set of categories through which to understand ...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:342 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:July 5, 2000Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226944913

ISBN - 13:9780226944913

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prologue
1. Southern Women Writers: A Confederacy of Water Moccasins
2. Dynamiting the Rails: Desegregating Southern Literary Studies
3. "And Every Baby . . . Was Floating Round in the Water, Drowned": Throwaway Bodies in Southern Fiction
4. Race and the Cloud of Unknowing
5. Beyond the Hummingbird: Southern Gargantuas
6. Politics in the Kitchen: Roosevelt, McCullers, and Surrealist History
7. White Objects, Black Ownership: Object Politics in Southern Fiction
8. The Body as Testimony
9. Studying the Wafflehouse Chain, or Dirt as Desire in Their Eyes Were Watching God
Notes
References
Index

From Our Editors

This official narrative of the history of Southern writing by Patricia Yaeger discusses white patriarchy and the epic of race. In this edition of Dirt and Desire Reconstructing Women's Writing, Yaeger uses works by black and white southern women writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Alice Walker, Eudora Welty and many others to reveal a terrible cultural fascination with the grotesque, the monstrous, the traumatic and the unfair. She also traces how dirt is often used in these works of literature used as a metaphor to describe the society as a whole.