Six approaches to the modern short story in the southern United States.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 09:00 authored by James Orin. Anderson
This thesis attempts to answer the following questions: What determines a modern 'Southern' short story as opposed to any other. What are its literary characteristics. What pattern of short fiction is outlined by its foremost practitioners. In eight chapters, first, the short story is examined to indicate why, as a genre, it best exhibits the qualities of modern Southern writing, and the background is reviewed which gave rise to the Southern 'renaissance', the New Tradition, and the New Criticism. Chapters Two through Seven examine successively six approaches to the writing of modern short stories in the South: the way that William Faulkner controlled the language through a personalised idiom drawn from an environment which included such influences as the King James Version of the Bible, Mark Twain, and Sir Walter Scott; the influence of the Fugitives upon Southern letters, in particular their advancement of the themes and ideas of their classical training and the controlled artifice of their writing form, as shown in stories by Allen Tate, Andrew Lytle, and Robert Penn Warren; the firmly distanced control of Katherine Anne Porter which made her the natural exponent of the short story; Flannery O'Connor's use of imagery in explaining her often disturbing themes, and the building up of sometimes dark and frightening symbols; the technical improvisations, structure, tone, poetic effect, and characteristic humour of Eudora Welty; and, the direct and indirect relation to Southern short fiction of black writers Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Diane Oliver, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and James Baldwin. The final chapter includes an examination of universality and regionality, the impact of the six approaches upon Southern short fiction, the changing face of the South, and possible directions of future Southern short prose fiction.