The Edge of the Swamp : A Study in the Literature and Society of the Old SouthMaterial type: TextSeries: eBooks on DemandPublisher: Baton Rouge : LSU Press, 1999Edition: 1Description: 1 online resource (247 p.)ISBN: 9780807153635Subject(s): American literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism | American literature -- Southern States -- History and criticism | Literature and society -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century | Southern States -- Civilization -- 1775-1865 | Southern States -- In literatureGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: The Edge of the Swamp : A Study in the Literature and Society of the Old SouthDDC classification: 810.997 | 810.9975 LOC classification: PS261 .E59 1999Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
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COVER; CONTENTS; ACKNOWLEDGMENTS; INTRODUCTION: The Old South and Historical Causality; I. THE EDGE OF THE SWAMP: Literature and Society in the Old South; II. THE DREAM OF THE PLANTATION: Simms, Hammond, Charleston; III. THE ROMANCE OF THE FRONTIER: Simms, Cooper, and the Wilderness; IV. THE INWARD IMAGINATION: Poe; V. THE POET LAUREATE OF THE CONFEDERACY; INDEX; A; B; C; D; E; F; G; H; I; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; R; S; T; U; V; W; Y
The flowering of literary imagination known as the American Renaissance had few roots in the South. While Hawthorne, Emerson, Melville, Thoreau, and Whitman were creating a body of work that would endure, the only southern writer making a lasting contribution was Edgar Allan Poe. This failure on the part of antebellum southern writers has long been a subject of debate among students of southern history and literature. Now one of the region''s most distinguished men of letters offers a cogently argued and gracefully written account of the circumstances that prevented early southern writers from creating transcendent works of art.Louis D. Rubin, Jr., brings forty years of critical integrity and imaginative involvement with the history and literature of the South to his informal inquiry into the foundations of the southern literary imagination. His exploration centers on the lives and works of three of the most important writers of the pre-Civil War South: Poe, William Gilmore Simms, and Henry Timrod.In a close and highly original reading of Poe''s poetry and fiction, Rubin shows just how profoundly growing up in Richmond, Virginia, influenced that writer. The sole author of the Old South whose work has endured did not use southern settings or concern himself with his region''s history or politics. Poe was, according to Rubin, in active rebellion against the middle-class community of Richmond and its materialistic values.Simms, on the other hand, aspired to the plantation society ideal of his native Charleston, South Carolina. He was not the most devoted and energetic of southern writers and one of the country''s best-known and most respected literary figures before the Civil War. Rubin finds an explanation for much of the lost promise of antebellum southern literature in Simms''s career. Here was a talented man who got caught up in the politically obsessed plantation community of Charleston, becoming an apologist for the system and an ardent defender of slavery.Timrod, also a Charlestonian native, was a highly gifted poet whose work attained the stature of literature when the Civil War gave him a theme. He was known as the poet laureate of the Confederacy. Only when his region was locked in a desperate military struggle for the right to exist did he suddenly find his enduring voice.Anyone interested in southern life and literature will welcome his provocative and engaging new look at southern writing from one of the region''s most perceptive critics.
Description based upon print version of record.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal ReviewOf all the writers of the pre-Civil War South only Poe produced a body of work widely esteemed today. Rubin attributes Poe's endurance to his unstated rebellion against the values of his society, a rebellion that led to the expansion of ``inward imagination.'' Dividing his book into major sections on Poe, Henry Timrod, and William Gilmore Simms, Rubin uses Simms--a novelist who strove for status in plantation society--to illustrate how dedication to a ``dream of the plantation'' diffused the creative energies of the most promising Southern writers. The result is an interesting illustration of lost promise. The section on Poe is an often insightful look at heretofore unexplored influences; that on Timrod attempts to show the merits of his poetry. Not essential, but an edifying, useful work by an eminent scholar.-- Frank Pisano, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
CHOICE ReviewFortified with 40 years' study of the history and literature of the South, critic Rubin tackles the prickly problem of why the American Renaissance did not include any antebellum southern writers. He argues that a middle class developed in the antebellum South whose members expended their energies seeking political apologia for the existence of the Peculiar Institution (as slavery was euphemistically called), and had no time for artistic pursuits. Rubin writes with grace and unpretentious erudition. He takes clarification for his points from the writings of the finest southern scholars such as Lewis P. Simpson, Allen Tate, and C. Vann Woodward, and writers William Faulkner, Edgar Allan Poe, William Gilmore Simms, and Henry Timrod. His brilliant reading of Poe offers a fresh portrait of an inward Poe. His portrait of poet Timrod clearly dramatizes how the Civil War affected one southern artist's work. However, his reading of Simms, while enlightening, does not always dispel the concept of the dream of plantation. Although some will certainly want to debate in depth Rubin's basic premise, this book opens new windows from which to view antebellum southern literature and, by extension, the glories of 20th-century southern literature. Literary scholars will find this study a seminal one. College students may not appreciate it fully without wide reading of Simms, Poe, Timrod, and John Pendleton Kennedy. -R. F. Cayton, emeritus, Marietta College
Author notes provided by SyndeticsLouis Decimus Rubin, Jr. was born in Charleston, South Carolina on November 19, 1923. After serving in the Army during World War II, he received a history degree the University of Richmond. He worked for The Associated Press and several newspapers including the Richmond News-Leader before receiving master's and doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins University. In 1953, while still at Johns Hopkins University, he co-edited his first book, Southern Renascence: The Literature of the Modern South.
He taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Hollins College, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a co-founder of Algonquin Books and founder of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. In 1989, he retired from the UNC faculty after 22 years to focus on Algonquin Books.
He was a prolific author who wrote novels, critical studies, histories, memoirs and a guide for predicting the weather. His books include Small Craft Advisory, Babe Ruth's Ghost, A Memory of Trains, An Honorable Estate, and My Father's People. He died from kidney disease on November 16, 2013 at the age of 89.
(Bowker Author Biography)