THE SOUTHERN TRADITION AT BAY by Richard Weaver

THE SOUTHERN TRADITION AT BAY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Old South may indeed be a hall hung with splendid tapestries in which no one would care to live; but from them we can learn something of how to live."" With these remarks Weaver presents his conclusion and his point of view in this study of the values and the sentiments of the Southern tradition. He maintains that the South has been ethically superior to the North (in spite of its past as a slaveholding society) because it has attempted to preserve social structure and because it has rejected the false promises of scientism and modernism. He analyzes the ""dominant forces"" in the southern society--feudalism, chivalry, religiousness and the code of the gentleman--and though he notes the passing of these values he holds that their byproducts (individualism, personality and romanticism) are making a last stand in the South. All of this applies only to the aristocratic whites of course; the Negro question is something else again and the best outlook that Weaver can muster here is a kind of benign paternalism. Still, his book, which in style is very smooth, has a kind of graduate school interest. It would have been refreshing, however, to read social commentary which did not, in the end, once again rely on Yeats' Second Coming as the fullest expression of modern discontent.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 1968
Publisher: Arlington House