Sum of the Parts : The Mathematics and Politics of Region, Place, and Writing

By: Ryden, Kent CMaterial type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on DemandAmerican Land & Life: Publisher: Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, 2011Description: 1 online resource (186 p.)ISBN: 9781587299889Subject(s): American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism | Place (Philosophy) in literature | Regionalism -- United States | Regionalism in literatureGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Sum of the Parts : The Mathematics and Politics of Region, Place, and WritingDDC classification: 810.9/3581 | 810.93581 LOC classification: PS228PS228.R4 R93 2011PS228.R4R93 2011Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Contents; Foreword; Preface; 1. let s = meaningful space: The Mathematics of Region and Place; 2. sets and unsettlement: Region, Power, and Resistance in New England Writing; 3. an incompleteness theorem of region: Stegner and the American West, Faulkner and the American South; 4. prime real estate: The Midwest, History, and Regional Identity; epilogue: Null Set-Ecological Regions and Cultural Regions; Notes; Bibliography; Index
Summary: Proponents of the new regional history understand that regional identities are constructed and contested, multifarious and not monolithic, that they involve questions of dominance and power, and that their nature is inherently political. In this lively new book, writing in the spirit of these understandings, Kent Ryden engagingly examines works of American regional writing to show us how literary partisans of place create and recreate, attack and defend, argue over and dramatize the meaning and identity of their regions in the pages of their books. Cleverly drawing upon mathematical models that complement his ideas and focusing on both classic and contemporary literary regionalists, Ryden demonstrates that regionalism, in the cultural sense, retains a great deal of power as a framework for literary interpretation. For New England he examines such writers as Robert Frost and Hayden Carruth, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Edith Wharton, and Carolyn Chute and Russell Banks to demonstrate that today's regionalists inspire closer, more democratic readings of life and landscape. For the West and South, he describes Wallace Stegner's and William Faulkner's use of region to, respectively, exclude and evade or confront and indict. For the Midwest, he focuses on C. J. Hribal, William Least Heat-Moon, Paul Gruchow, and others to demonstrate that midwesterners continually construct the past anew from the materials at hand, filling the seemingly empty midlands with history and significance. Ryden reveals that there are many Wests, many New Englands, many Souths, and many Midwests, all raising similar issues about the cultural politics of region and place. Writing with appealing freshness and a sense of adventure, he shows us that place, and the stories that emerge from and define place, can be a source of subversive energy that blunts the homogenizing force of region, inscribing marginal places and people back onto the imaginative surface of the landscape when we read it on a place-by-place, landscape-by-landscape, book-by-book basis. 
Tags from this library: No tags from this library for this title. Log in to add tags.
Item type Current location Call number URL Status Date due Barcode
Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
PS228 | PS228.R4 R93 2011 | PS228.R4R93 2011 (Browse shelf) http://uttyler.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=843338 Available EBL843338
Browsing UT Tyler Online shelves, Shelving location: Online Close shelf browser
PS228 | PS228.M63 | PS228.M63S68 2004 The Modernist Nation : PS228 | PS228.M63S93 2000 New Deal Modernism PS228 | PS228.P67 .B683 2011 | PS228.P67B63 2011 Reading Up : PS228 | PS228.R4 R93 2011 | PS228.R4R93 2011 Sum of the Parts : PS228 | PS228.V5 H43 2008 | PS228.V5H43 2008 Writing Vietnam, Writing Life : PS228 | PS228.W65 M59 2007 | PS228.W65M59 2007 A Vocabulary of Thinking : PS228.A54.L87 2013eb Birth of a Jungle :

Contents; Foreword; Preface; 1. let s = meaningful space: The Mathematics of Region and Place; 2. sets and unsettlement: Region, Power, and Resistance in New England Writing; 3. an incompleteness theorem of region: Stegner and the American West, Faulkner and the American South; 4. prime real estate: The Midwest, History, and Regional Identity; epilogue: Null Set-Ecological Regions and Cultural Regions; Notes; Bibliography; Index

Proponents of the new regional history understand that regional identities are constructed and contested, multifarious and not monolithic, that they involve questions of dominance and power, and that their nature is inherently political. In this lively new book, writing in the spirit of these understandings, Kent Ryden engagingly examines works of American regional writing to show us how literary partisans of place create and recreate, attack and defend, argue over and dramatize the meaning and identity of their regions in the pages of their books. Cleverly drawing upon mathematical models that complement his ideas and focusing on both classic and contemporary literary regionalists, Ryden demonstrates that regionalism, in the cultural sense, retains a great deal of power as a framework for literary interpretation. For New England he examines such writers as Robert Frost and Hayden Carruth, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Edith Wharton, and Carolyn Chute and Russell Banks to demonstrate that today's regionalists inspire closer, more democratic readings of life and landscape. For the West and South, he describes Wallace Stegner's and William Faulkner's use of region to, respectively, exclude and evade or confront and indict. For the Midwest, he focuses on C. J. Hribal, William Least Heat-Moon, Paul Gruchow, and others to demonstrate that midwesterners continually construct the past anew from the materials at hand, filling the seemingly empty midlands with history and significance. Ryden reveals that there are many Wests, many New Englands, many Souths, and many Midwests, all raising similar issues about the cultural politics of region and place. Writing with appealing freshness and a sense of adventure, he shows us that place, and the stories that emerge from and define place, can be a source of subversive energy that blunts the homogenizing force of region, inscribing marginal places and people back onto the imaginative surface of the landscape when we read it on a place-by-place, landscape-by-landscape, book-by-book basis. 

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Ryden (Univ. of Southern Maine) uses metaphors drawn from the world of mathematics--set theory, Godel's theorem, prime numbers--to illuminate the narrative nature of "New England," "the South," and "the West.. Unlike places, which Ryden sees as characterized by the density and peculiarity of lived experience, regions are "homogenizing mental constructs" that exclude vast swaths of experience in the service of existing cultural-power relations. A literature grounded in the ambiguities and particularities of places can subvert the "totalizing narratives" of regionalism. Ryden asserts that by representing working-class people and depressed landscapes, New England "neo-realists" like David Budbill, Ernest Hebert, and Carolyn Chute expose the class-based, colonial dynamics of iconic regional representations. Ryden characterizes Wallace Stegner (in Angle of Repose) and William Faulkner (Absalom, Absalom!) as "metaregionalists" who foreground the narrative construction of their regions, and he displays the incompleteness, gaps, and authorial needs inherent in this process. Because the Midwest lacks the grand historical incidents and accounts associated with the other regions, Midwestern nonfiction writers like William Least Heat Moon and Drake Hokanson have created another narrative paradigm, rendering the intensely local interactions between people and place. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. M. L. Robertson Sweet Briar College

There are no comments on this title.

to post a comment.