The Dream of Arcady: Place and Time in Southern Literature by Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan

By Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan

"This is a well-organized, gracefully written account of an important point of Southern fiction, and it comprises info and incisive remark that you can see nowhere else." --Thomas Daniel Young

Many southern writers imagined the South as a certified dream of Arcady. They retained the glow of the golden land as a tool to reveal or rebuke, to confront or break out the complexities of the particular occasions within which they lived.

The Dream of Arcady examines the paintings of post-Civil conflict southern writers who criticize the parable of the South as pastoral paradise. in the end in all their idealized worlds, the idyllic imaginative and prescient fades in an inescapable second of awakening. This second, that's primary to MacKethan's examine, produces an environment pastoral in temper and implications.

Her standpoint research juxtaposes the responses of Sidney Lanier, Joel Chandler Harris, and Thomas Nelson web page, who contributed to but wish to go beyond sectionalism, with the ambivalent perspectives of black writers Charles Chesnutt and Jean Toomer. contemplating the writings of the Agrarians, William Faulkner, and Eudora Welty, MacKethan then concludes her examine via wondering no matter if the Arcadian dream nonetheless serves the artist of our period as a body for inventive and ideological purposes.

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Extra resources for The Dream of Arcady: Place and Time in Southern Literature

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He realizes that he has, at the same time, not been able to grasp the full meaning of his experience. " In Larder's earlier poem "Symphony," the manner in which the horn, speaking for the chivalrous knight, undertakes to do battle with "cheapening" trade is one of bravado; the tone is that of a reckless boy who has heard tales of the glories of war but knows none of its realities. In "The Marshes ofGlynn" the voice speaking is consistently that of a man who knows the world as it is, admits his doubts, and seeks the marshland not as escape but from a religious need to know a new level of experience.

Kennedy's preface to an 1851 edition of the novel contains remarks similar to dozens of Page's commentaries about the superiorities of plantation life. "Swallow Barn? Kennedy intoned, "exhibits a picture of country life as it existed in the first quarter of the present century. 6 This concept of an Old South that is a vanished society pertains to many works written well before the Civil War. Yet Page differs in that he watched, at a most impressionable age, the actual demise of that sunny civilization and found, as he began writing in the aftermath of its destruction, an opportunity not just to commemorate or to express a sense of loss but to measure, to rebuke, and actually to have some effect on the shape of the present.

His major characters almost never become real for us because Lanier is much more interested in using them to voice his vague transcendental theories than in developing them as individuals with personalities of their own. The one exception is his portrait of the Smallin brothers, Gorm and Cain, mountain rustics whose appearance marks an exquisite touch of realism for the novel. The story of Cain's reaction to his brother's desertion from the army becomes a separate piece both in style and in the dramatic intensity that Lanier achieves with it.

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