Dear Appalachia: Readers, Identity, and Popular Fiction since 1878

Dear Appalachia: Readers, Identity, and Popular Fiction since 1878

Dear Appalachia: Readers, Identity, and Popular Fiction since 1878

Dear Appalachia: Readers, Identity, and Popular Fiction since 1878

Synopsis

No other region in America is so fraught with projected meaning as Appalachia. Many people who have never set foot in Appalachia have very definite ideas about what the region is like. Whether these assumptions originate with movies like Deliverance (1972) and Coal Miners Daughter (1980), from Robert F. Kennedys widely publicized Appalachian Tour, or from tales of hiking the Appalachian Trail, chances are these suppositions serve a purpose to the person who holds them. A persons concept of Appalachia may function to reassure them that there remains an "authentic" America untouched by consumerism, to feel a sense of superiority about their lives and regions, or to confirm the notion that cultural differences must be both appreciated and managed. In Selling Appalachia: Popular Fictions, Imagined Geographies, and Imperial Projects, 1878-2003, Emily Satterwhite explores the complex relationships readers have with texts that portray Appalachia and how these varying receptions have created diverse visions of Appalachia in the national imagination. She argues that words themselves not inherently responsible for creating or destroying Appalachian stereotypes, but rather that readers and their interpretations assign those functions to them. Her study traces the changing visions of Appalachia across the decades from the Gilded Age (1865-1895) to the present and includes texts such as John Fox Jr.s Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1908), Harriet Arnows Hunters Horn (1949), and Silas Houses Clays Quilt (2001), charting both the portrayals of Appalachia in fiction and readers responses to them. Satterwhites unique approach doesnt just explain how people view Appalachia, it explains why they think that way. This innovative book will be a noteworthy contribution to Appalachian studies, cultural and literary studies, and reception theory.
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