Academic journal article The Mississippi Quarterly

Fred Hobson on Southern Women's Writing: A Clarification

Academic journal article The Mississippi Quarterly

Fred Hobson on Southern Women's Writing: A Clarification

Article excerpt

In his review of Patricia Yaeger's Dirt And Desire (Winter 2000-01), Michael Kreyling has completely misstated my position on Southern women's writing and the use of history in fiction, as it is expressed in The Southern Writer in the Postmodern World (1901). It is simply not true, as Kreyling contends, that I say "that Southern women have not written or cannot write" the work concerned with the sweep of history or with the public arena. In fact, what I wrote (in the midst of a discussion that depicts contemporary Southern women's writing as rejecting old notions of honor and hierarchy, romantic ideas and schemes--"Tom Sawyer's lies") is that, in the past, Southern women (with exceptions, as I pointed out) "generally" had not written the novel concerned with the "sweep of history" and so forth. But in the next sentence (conveniently omitted in the review) I went on to suggest, as I have said elsewhere, that the reason for that fact may well be that, traditionally, Southern women had not been allowed to function widely in the public arena (politics, etc.), had thus been forced to operate largely in the domestic sphere. The part of Kreyling's statement that attributes to me the belief that Southern women writers "cannot write" (note present tense) the work concerned "with the sweep of history or with the public arena or both" is particularly erroneous. …

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