Anarchy and Family in the Southern Tradition

For this issue of Chronicles we have assembled the thing in and of itself, examples of Southern literature as it is here and now, a couple of appropriate poems and a work of fiction by one of the South's finest writers, together with some good talk about contemporary letters in the South. I would rather not be redundant (the rhetorical effect of which is always to generate a chorus of huge yawns among readers); so I will here merely point out that most of the questions and some of the answers about the nature of Southern literature, past and present, are at least touched on in the pieces that follow. Perhaps most interestingly, R.H.W. Dillard's new poem, "Poe at the End," and Fred Chappell's long story/short novel (shall we go ahead and call it a novella? Why not?), "Ancestors," using both fact and fable, directly address the happy and probably insoluble problem of defining Southern literature. Among other things.

I commend each and all of these pieces to you. Including the work by Dillard and Chappell, and the poem by James Seay, we have work by the latest generation of Southern writers, all of them already established and altogether likely to be at once active and influential in the decade ahead and the early years of the new century. That gives us, not counting the newest of the new and the youngest of the young, three living generations of Southern writers. Although we have lost Robert...

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