The Oxford Book of the American South: Testimony, Memory, and Fiction by Edward L. AyersThe Oxford Book of the American South: Testimony, Memory, and Fiction by Edward L. Ayers

The Oxford Book of the American South: Testimony, Memory, and Fiction

EditorEdward L. Ayers, Bradley C. Mittendorf

Paperback | November 1, 1998

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The Oxford Book of the American South resonates with the words of black people and white, women and men, the powerless as well as the powerful. The collection presents the most telling fiction and nonfiction produced in the South from the late eighteenth century to the present. Renownedauthors such as James Agee, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Lee Smith, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, and Flannery O'Connor appear in these pages, but so do people whose writing did not immediately reach a large audience. For example, Harriet A. Jacobs' book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,which is now recognized as one of the most illuminating narratives of a former slave, was neglected for generations. And Sarah Morgan's powerful Civil War Diary has only recently come to widespread attention. The Oxford Book of the American South presents compelling autobiographies, diaries,memoirs, and journalism as well as stories and selections from novels, and runs the spectrum from the conservative to the radical, the traditional to the innovative. Editors Edward L. Ayers and Bradley C. Mittendorf have arranged these diverse readings so that they fit together into a rich mosaic ofSouthern life and history. The sections of the book The Old South, The Civil War and Its Consequences, Hard Times, and The Turning unfold a vivid record of life below the Mason Dixon line. We see the antebellum period both from the perspective of those who experienced it first-hand, such asThomas Jefferson and former slaves Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass, and then from the perspective of authors looking back on that era, including William Styron and Sherley Anne Williams. Likewise, we see the Civil War through the eyes of witnesses such as Sam Watkins, through the eyes oflater writers trying to make sense of the conflict, such as Robert Penn Warren, and through the eyes of those using the war's intense passions to fuel their fiction, such as Margaret Mitchell and Barry Hannah. The classic authors of the Southern Renaissance in the 1920s and 1930s appear here in thecontext of the hard times in which they wrote. The years since World War II are chronicled in the powerful words of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail," George Garrett's "Good bye, Good bye, Be Always Kind and True," and Peter Taylor's "The Decline and Fall of the EpiscopalChurch, in the Year of Our Lord 1952." The editors have selected these readings, their Preface tells us, to convey "the passions that have surfaced time and again in more than two hundred years of Southern writing." Indeed, the struggles, defeats, and triumphs chronicled in The Oxford Book of theAmerican South speak not just to the South, but to all of the American experience. They document and evoke some of the most dramatic episodes in the nation's life
Edward L. Ayers teaches the history and culture of the American South at the University of Virginia. He is the author of the prize-winning The Promise of the New South. Bradley C. Mittendorf is a writer and political consultant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Title:The Oxford Book of the American South: Testimony, Memory, and FictionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:608 pages, 7.91 × 5.31 × 1.3 inPublished:November 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195124936

ISBN - 13:9780195124934

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From Our Editors

Resonating with the testimony of slaves and slaveholders, the powerful and the powerless, women and men, black and white, this volume combines the most telling fiction and nonfiction produced in the South from the late 18th century to the present.

Editorial Reviews

"Throughout this collection, issues of race and class roil the surface, agitating people and their lives. Struggle, rage, and despair have been the contants of Southern history. The Oxford Book of the American South brings the reader some of the best that has been written and thought aboutthese issues over nearly 300 years of Southern history. I know of no better one-volume sampling to be had. Indispensable."--John Sledge, Mobile Register