Numer 13 (2/2019)
Other Souths on Page and Screen
Redaktor: Urszula Niewiadomska-Flis
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Urszula Niewiadomska-Flis
From the South as the Abjected Regional Other to Kaleidoscopic Souths
163 – 175
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Streszczenie

The American South has never been a homogenous concept yet there exists, according to W. J. Cash, “a profound conviction that the South is another land, sharply differentiated from the rest of the American nation, and exhibiting within itself a remarkable homogeneity” (xlvii). In the 1993 inaugural issue of Southern Cultures Harry Watson and John Shelton Reed claimed in “The Front Porch” that “although it may be said that there is one South, there are also many Souths, and many cultural traditions among them … There is one South spawned by its many cultures” (1993). Yet, up until the late nineteenth century southern writers tried to evoke an image of their region based on “slavery, mocking birds, hominy grits and Bourbon whisky” (Lawson 47). By eliminating from literature any experience which contradicted their own (e.g. of poor whites, African Americans, women, immigrants, and others), white southern writers tried to create a monolithic image of the patriarchal South. Such a partial projected image was of course reductive in nature, as the South has always been a union of opposites – such as “calm grace and raw hatred, polished manners and violence, individualism and conformism” (Holman 1). Indeed, such opposites inspired various twentieth-century writers to reflect on differing dimensions of the region...


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Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Marianne Kongerslev,
Clara Juncker
Appalachia as Trumpland: Honor, Precarity, and Affect in Literature from the Mountain South
179 – 191
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Słowa kluczowe

Trump |Affect |Mountain South |precarity |Memoirs |Masculinity |Southern Honor

Streszczenie

Literary and cultural texts by southern poor whites in the hills of the Ozarks and Appalachia and southern migrants in Rustbelt Ohio explode with feelings such as hatred, desperation, and anger, resulting from the continual precaritization and marginalization of the mountain communities. In (auto)biographical texts as well as in literary fiction, the “hillbilly” community is represented as self-segregated, proud, and independent, with special notions of honor and loyalty. Exploring the (dis)connections between the literary emotions of the people of the Mountain South and the code of southern honor that has produced and sustained them, this article argues that the anxious and angry emotions that Donald Trump taps into as a political strategy are not new, but rather have been building throughout the 20th and into the 21st centuries. The first manifestations that this precarious affective structure was forming can be seen in this regional literature, illustrating the potential in explorations of literary ugly feelings (Ngai, 2005) of marginalized southerners. Thus, the article uncovers how poor whites position their precarious existences in Trump’s USA and how they employ various affective strategies to articulate their whiteness and their anxiety.


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Marianne Kongerslev
Aalborg Universitet, Dania
Clara Juncker
Danish Association for American Studies (DAAS)
Nordic Association for American Studies (NAAS)
Marco Petrelli
Out of Eden: Old South, Post-South and Ur-South in Sara Taylor’s The Shore
192 – 204
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Słowa kluczowe

Sara Taylor |US South |Post-South |Southern Gothic |Pastoralism |Chronotope |Poor Whites |Postmodernism |magical realism |Patriarchy

Streszczenie

Sara Taylor’s The Shore is ex-centric in many ways. As for the setting, it geographically and socially depicts a fringe of the already-peripheral Appalachian culture, shedding a new and interesting light on the Southern “sense of place” through the use of magical-realistic elements that actually connect characters and landscape. Geography, though, is but the palimpsest. The book’s liminality is further reinforced by the fact that The Shore’s long and violent familiar history is chiefly narrated through the voices of six generations of women struggling not to be silenced by the allembracing southern patriarchy. Considering both the psycho-geographical and socio-historical dimensions described by Taylor, this essay will show how The Shore stands as a counter-dynastic novel giving a voice to those who were excluded from the South’s self-projected image-in-place. Also, through its comprehensive outlook on southern history, the novel chronicles the (frustrated) effort to overcome postmodern placelessness via an-other way of constructing southern identity.


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Sapienza Università di Roma, Włochy
Marie Liénard-Yeterian
Wither the South on Screen: Revisiting Some Recent Releases
207 – 221
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Słowa kluczowe

Southern plantation |Southern belle |Southern gentleman |the Civil War |No Country for Old Men (2007) |The Road (2009) |Django Unchained (2012) |The Counselor (2013) |The Hateful Eight (2015) |The Birth of a Nation (2016) |The Beguiled (2017) |The Mule (2018)

Streszczenie

My article deals with the construction of a different South on screen in the posthuman context. It focuses on the way previous idealized embodiments of the South on film are being displaced to give way to an alternative South on screen informed by our contemporary aesthetics characterized by violence and human reification. The filmic South increasingly coheres with the historical South through the rewriting of formulaic tropes such as the plantation, the Southern belle and gentleman, and the staging of significant historical moments such as the Nat Turner rebellion and the Civil War. Recent releases perform national cultural work at a time when the demons of Southern history have come back to haunt the national imagination, as recent events such as the shooting at Immanuel church (June 2015) and Charlottesville (October 2017) have tragically shown.


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Université de Nice – Sophia Antipolis, Francja
Peter Templeton
James Stewart and the Changing Face of the Confederate in Mid-Twentieth Century Hollywood Cinema
223 – 235
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Słowa kluczowe

Hollywood |cinema |Civil War |South |Confederacy |western |race politics |Civil Rights

Streszczenie

Hollywood cinema offers multifaceted perspectives of the south and the southerner, guided as much by the time of production as by the personnel working on individual movies. This article will focus specifically on two films, fifteen years apart, featuring the same leading actor – James Stewart – in two similar yet distinct portrayals of southerners. The similarities and divergences between the protagonists of Winchester ’73 (1950) and Shenandoah (1965) allow us to explore (via a close reading of each text) specifically how the Confederate rebel was constructed for a national audience in the mid-twentieth century, and how that changed across a contested period that saw wide-ranging events in the battle for Civil Rights. Finally, the article shows how debts and divergences from the nineteenth century logics of white supremacy and secessionism factor into particular Hollywood discourses about geography, whiteness, and masculinity and retain an ongoing relevance in the current, fraught political climate.


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Loughborough University, UK
Antoni Górny
Appalling! Terrifying! Wonderful! Blaxploitation and the Cinematic Image of the South
237 – 252
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Słowa kluczowe

blaxploitation |American film |race and racism |slavery |abolitionism

Streszczenie

The so-called blaxploitation genre – a brand of 1970s film-making designed to engage young Black urban viewers – has become synonymous with channeling the political energy of Black Power into larger-than-life Black characters beating “the [White] Man” in real-life urban settings. In spite of their urban focus, however, blaxploitation films repeatedly referenced an idea of the South whose origins lie in antebellum abolitionist propaganda. Developed across the history of American film, this idea became entangled in the post-war era with the Civil Rights struggle by way of the “race problem” film, which identified the South as “racist country,” the privileged site of “racial” injustice as social pathology.1 Recently revived in the widely acclaimed works of Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) and Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), the two modes of depicting the South put forth in blaxploitation and the “race problem” film continue to hold sway to this day. Yet, while the latter remains indelibly linked, even in this revised perspective, to the abolitionist vision of emancipation as the result of a struggle between idealized, plaintive Blacks and pathological, racist Whites, blaxploitation’s troping of the South as the fulfillment of grotesque White “racial” fantasies offers a more powerful and transformative means of addressing America’s “race problem.”


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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Constante González Groba
Riding the Rails to (Un)Freedom: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad
255 – 270
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Słowa kluczowe

Colson Whitehead |Underground Railroad |black slavery |runaway slaves

Streszczenie

This novel about US black slavery departs from realism, moving around in time and space as a means of dealing with different racial terrors in different historical periods. One of the author’s intentions is to make us think about slavery not just in the past but with reverberations for the present. Published in 2016, the novel resonates with a contemporary America characterized by acrimonious racial division. After escaping from a Georgia plantation through a literalized Underground Railroad, the adolescent female protagonist soon learns that freedom remains elusive in states further north, even those where slavery has been abolished. The novel fuses the odyssey of Cora with the history and mythology of America, and asserts the inseparability of slavery from American capitalism and the building of empire. Cora explores both the Declaration of Independence and the Bible, two foundational texts of the nation, in a novel that addresses some of the foundational sins of America. Hers is the all-American story of escape to freedom, but her journey takes her through ever darker varieties of depredation and oppression. She becomes an American dreamer in the sense that she never accepts her place in a system that she persists in defying, and through this process becomes a fictional representation of black people who, with their relentless pursuit of freedom, contributed so greatly to the building of American democracy.


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Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Hiszpania
Patrycja Antoszek
The Neo-Gothic Imaginary and the Rhetoric of Loss in Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad
271 – 279
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Słowa kluczowe

melancholia |slavery |African-American gothic |loss |Affect

Streszczenie

The aim of my paper will be to discuss the African-American reworking of the Gothic tradition in Colson Whitehead’s neo-slave narrative. I want to argue that the figure of the protagonist Cora may be seen as the embodiment of losses that span over generations of black women. Cora’s melancholia is a strategy of dealing with the horrors of slavery and a sign of a black woman’s failed entry into the Symbolic. While the novel’s narrative technique is a symbol of the ever-present past that haunts black subjectivity, the underground railroad may be read as a metaphor for the repressed content of American national unconscious.


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Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Ewa Klęczaj-Siara
Protecting the Spirit of the American South: Representations of New Orleans Culture in Contemporary Children’s Picture Books
281 – 292
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Słowa kluczowe

jazz |children’s literature |New Orleans |parading |Hurricane Katrina |picture books

Streszczenie

This article explores selected aspects of southern culture as presented in contemporary children’s picture books. It analyzes children’s stories which celebrate New Orleans’ residents and their traditions. Unlike many scholars who point to the end of the New Orleans spirit due to recent economic and demographic changes, children’s authors perceive the culture as a resource which regenerates the city. By means of writing for children they keep the city’s distinct black culture from disappearing. The aim of this article is to examine to what extent the spirit of the South has survived in the minds of contemporary authors and artists addressing young generations of readers. It discusses the presence of such cultural elements as jazz music, body movement and the ritual of parading in selected children’s picture books set in New Orleans. Among others, it analyzes such titles as Freedom in Congo Square (2016) by C. Weatherford, and Trombone Shortly (2015) and The 5 O’ Clock Band (2018) by Troy Andrews. The article focuses on the interaction between the verbal and the visual elements of the books, and the ways they convey the meaning of the stories.


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Uniwersytet Technologiczno-Humanistyczny im. Kazimierza Pułaskiego w Radomiu
Joseph Kuhn
Bataille in the South: James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and Erskine Caldwell’s Depression Fiction
295 – 307
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Słowa kluczowe

transgression |the sacred |heterology |southern agriculture in literature |the Depression

Streszczenie

This article tries to show how James Agee in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941) and Erskine Caldwell in his fiction from the Depression years – especially the little-known novella, The Sacrilege of Alan Kent (1930) – used a discourse of the sacred to represent the strange otherness of the Depression South. They particularly drew on the “left hand sacred” (of taboo, repulsiveness and sacrifice) as distinct from the “right hand sacred” found in institutional religion. The article argues that a theoretical understanding of Agee and Caldwell’s use of the sacred may be provided by Georges Bataille. It seems particularly appropriate to invoke Bataille since he was concerned with the political elements of the sacred and sought to mobilize these elements during the 1930s when liberal democracy was thought by many leftist writers on both sides of the Atlantic to have failed. Bataille provides a productive analogue to the two southerners, who shared this perception of liberal democracy, because he tried to articulate a radical path in this decade that was not Marxist. Agee and Caldwell, although notionally Communist, were dissatisfied with Marxism because they saw it as another version of a utilitarian or restricted economy. They looked instead to the sacred as a discourse of transgression – a discourse that was rooted in what Bataille called a general economy or the deeper organization of collective life around ecology and the gift.


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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu

Elena Avanzas Álvarez
Form and Diversity in American Crime Fiction: The Southern Forensic Thriller
309 – 319
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Słowa kluczowe

literature |crime fiction |southern |forensics |thriller

Streszczenie

The forensic thriller has traditionally been constructed as a mainstream American narrative focused on the stereotypical representation of the country as a metropolis with an incredible amount of resources, and the American capitalist dream. The author Patricia Cornwell (Postmortem, first novel in the Kay Scarpetta series, published in 1990) is considered the founding mother of this crime fiction subgenre native to the US, closely followed by Kathy Reichs (Dèja Dead, first novel in the Temperance Brennan series, published in 1997) whose series have been successfully adapted to television in the show Bones (2005-2017). But the 21st century has seen the inclusion of more diverse settings for these stories, the South being the most economically successful and dominated by women authors too. Georgian Karin Slaughter is the author of the “Grant County” series, set in the fictional town of Heartsdale, in rural Georgia, and responsible for the inscription of the South in American forensic thrillers thanks to her own experience as a native. Blindsighted (2001) includes elements from both the grotesque southern gothic and the hard boiled tradition. My analysis of the first novel in the series will examine how the southern environment becomes quintessential to the development of the crimes and the characters from a literary, philosophical and feminist point of view. The issues examined will include, but not be limited to crime, morals, religion, professional ambition, infidelity, divorce, sexual desire, infertility, and family relationships.


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Universidad de Oviedo, Hiszpania
Michał Choiński
Figures of Contrast in Tennessee Williams’s Summer and Smoke
321 – 330
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Słowa kluczowe

Summer and Smoke |Tennessee Williams |macrofiguration |figurative contrast

Streszczenie

Ostensibly, Tennessee Williams’s Summer and Smoke (1948) revolves around the figurative contrasts between the bodily and the spiritual. This bifurcation is the basis of the clash between the play’s two main characters: John Buchanan and Alma Winemiller, whose unfulfilled romance is for Williams a study of the tragic impossibility of a conflation of opposites. In the construction of the characters, Williams shows a great deal of figurative “plasticity” – he is particular about the metaphors used to designate two sides of the central contrast. This article adopts the figurative approach to study how the playwright constructs John and Alma in metaphorical terms, as contrastive macrofigures, and to demonstrate how this figurative perspective allows him to escalate the tragedy of their impossible romance.


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Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie
Pobierz cały numer
160 – 334
PDF
Polish Association
Institute of English Studies
ISSN 1733-9154
for American Studies
University of Warsaw
e-ISSN 2544-8781