By Richard H. King
A research of a huge cultural circulation, this article exhibits how Southern writers of 1930 to 1955 attempted to return to phrases with Southern culture. It discusses the ensuing physique of important literature - fiction, poetry, memoirs and historic writing.
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Extra resources for A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the American South, 1930-1955
0 Odum praised the planter aristocracy but noted that the planters and the yeomen were de- MODEHNIZERS AND MONUMENTALISTS 43 scended from common stock. He did score the aristocracy's inadequate grasp of reality and blamed them for the weakness of the family among both races. The focus of the book fell on "Uncle John", a non-slave-owner who had fought with the South against the North. He stood as a representative of the "common folk" of the South, its backbone. Odum also criticized Northern self-righteousness in dealing with the South and particularly the imposition of black rule upon the defeated South in Reconstruction.
18 Thus no longer should the black-belt South dominate the region or provide the leadership for the South. Finally by stressing the frontier experience as central to the South and minimizing the planter influence, the Regionalists could also claim that Southern culture, far from wilting, was waiting to flower. "10 Vance and Odum both stressed the abundance of natural and human resources at the South's disposal. 20 But both he and Odum pointed to the fact that from the beginning the South had been MODERNIZERS AND MONUMENTALISTS 45 saddled with a colonial economy—a cotton monoculture, debtor status, soil exhaustion, and cheap wages.
Also in the absence of its traditional authorizations, present authority may degenerate into the application of violence which in turn provokes counterviolence. "28 Certainly of the rehashing of old verities there was no end in the 19305. One thinks here of the Agrarians or of William Alexander Percy. Calling upon the past to aid the present, they attempted to revitalize the tradition by turning it into a conservative, even reactionary ideology. Some, like Percy, realized that the tradition could not be revitalized in any binding, collective way and that it had become "merely" a personal code by which they could at least live.