Hobson's Choices

This slender volume—it embodies the 33 rd of the Mercer University Lamar Memorial Lectures—is most welcome. The topic is a matter of broad interest, and the author knows his stuff. As scholar and critic, professor and editor, Fred Hobson is a respected authority, one to be alertly attended.

He doesn't let us down. He wants to show us where Southern fiction has gone since the 1960's—since the civil rights revolution, integration, the passing of the giants of the Southern Renascence, the bloat of fast money, cable television, Jimmy Carter, and other improvements in the quality of life. Let's see: Faulkner died in 1962, Flannery O'Connor in 1964, Allen Tate in 1979, Robert Penn Warren and Walker Percy only recently. Andrew Lytle^ and Eudora Welty survive, unique creators, ones who remind us that there was a time when Southern fictionists were the best in the country. That's not been the case for some while—a point that Fred Hobson lets go while he concentrates on the changes in fictional subject matter that reflect social adjustments, and on elements of continuity that can be identified. If the South is more than a geographical expression, then it may still have an identifiable literature.

Since a Coke-dimmed tide of popular culture—TV, rock, movies—has engulfed the South with the rest of the Republic, there must be a fictional accounting for the new environment. Hobson...

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