DEMONIC VISION: Racial Fantasy and Southern Fiction by Alan Henry Rose

DEMONIC VISION: Racial Fantasy and Southern Fiction

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A broad interpretation based upon some very close readings of a handful of works by a group of mostly Southern writers. Beginning with the ""Old Southwestern Humor"" of short stories and tall tales from the early 1800s out of places like Alabama and Mississippi, Rose extracts the descriptive language and scenarios that identify blacks and Indians with demonic forces and powers of disorder. Through a brief survey of this literature and the antebellum novel, Rose follows this ""repressive"" tendency into the works of George Washington Harris, Mark Twain, and finally William Faulkner. Rose sees in Faulkner the impetus for change, but also the residue of ""traditional Southern racial attitudes."" In fact, it isn't until the concluding chapter's survey of post WW II fiction that Rose discovers the possibility for ""The creation of a new racial vision"" in--of all things--Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. A highly selective choice of works and a sometimes strained interpretation take away from the book's powers of persuasion. Potentially provocative, nonetheless, in studying the place of social attitudes in interpreting and evaluating our literature.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1976
Publisher: Shoe String Press