Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Haiku

Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Haiku

Article excerpt

Early in 1953, while I was at Johns Hopkins, I received an invitation from the University of Tokyo to teach a class on the South during Reconstruction in the following summer term. I replied that I would like to accept their invitation, but added that in view of their students' probable lack of background, I thought it better to make my course treat the South in the nineteenth century. Their reply was extremely polite but quite firm in asking that my subject be confined to the South during Reconstruction. With some puzzlement I agreed.

The puzzlement was cleared up shortly after I arrived and reported for duty. By far the most popular movie in town was Gone with the Wind, Japan was under reconstruction by Yankees, and the Japanese identified with the defeated South. Facing a room full of rapt and attentive students, who seemed to understand my American English with southern accent, I held forth for the term. It was agreed that I give no examination and no grades, but I was asked to wind up with an address to a university-wide audience, which seemed to go off well. …

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