South: A Scholarly Journal

South. At once a coordinate called “home,” and a condition to be avoided. Going south is a mixed metaphor; when you are south no one expects you to want to be there, making a mockery of the journey itself. South is a rich landscape for things on or at the edge, for that certain kind of feeling not yet reconciled. To be south is to be fraught—always. Like its predecessor, SLJ (Southern Literary Journal), conceived out of the turbulence of 1968, south makes its first appearance in the global uncertainty and national unrest that has characterized the new millennium. It is with this in mind that south embraces both the edge and the urgency of scholarly and sometimes creative inquiry into that region called “the south.” We encourage global and hemispheric comparative scholarship linking the American South to other Souths. We envision a journal that thinks of that entity called “the south” in circum-Gulfic terms, from the bottom up, rather than from the top down.


Vol. 49, No. 2, Spring

Crossroads and Memory in William Gay's Provinces of Night
Perhaps William Gay's most well-known story is that of the paperhanger--not the short story bearing that title, but the story of Gay himself, long-time drywall hanger and son of a sharecropper. Gay was the first in his family to graduate from high school,...
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FROM JILTING TO JONQUIL: Katherine Anne Porter and Wendell Berry, Sustaining Connections, Re-Engendering the Rural
"For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope." --Ecclesiastes 9:4 Sustainability, new agrarianism, localism, and other contemporary place-based interests invite reconsideration...
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A Small Place begins with Jamaica Kincaid greeting a hypothetical guest on her native island of Antigua. "If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see," she insists, "since you are a tourist, the thought of what it might be like for someone...
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Vol. 49, No. 1, Fall

Holding Pattern
Toni Morrison once wrote, "there were no marigolds in the spring of 1941" (The Bluest Eye, 1). Her object in that book was the failure of community; its specific iteration was in blackness, but her call was for us to take stock. Her purpose perhaps,...
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Re-Imagining Slavery in the Hip-Hop Imagination
In the opening scene for WGN's television series Underground (2016), a black enslaved man named Noah (played by Aldis Hodge) is seen running through the woods at night. Noah crashes through the landscape, jumping over bushes and running in erratic patterns....
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Declining Misery: Rural Florida's Hmong and Korean Farmers
The Southern Gothic tradition asserts a misery that centers decline, the pull of decay and degeneracy, as a regional terror. Yet the notion of declining misery also hinges on a dual elaboration, that of refusal, of choosing to decline the long reach...
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Taste as Emotion: The Synesthetic Body in Monique Truong's Bitter in the Mouth
"An' they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him ... he was real nice ..." His hands were under my chin, pulling up ...
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"I'd Sing You a Song If I Could Sing": Art and Artifice in Ellen Douglas's Can't Quit You, Baby
Ah, well, I didn't say it was possible. I said, Try. --Ellen Douglas, Can't Quit You, Baby Ellen Douglas's Can't Quit You, Baby (1988) is a prismatic and profoundly subtle novel. And yet, despite its impressive melange...
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Not Real Good at Modern Life: Appalachian Pentecostals in the Works of Lee Smith
In his 1996 essay "Writing on the Cusp: Double Alterity and Minority Discourse in Appalachia," Richard Cunningham urges Appalachian writers to start writing about, and therefore defining, themselves: "we Appalachian writers are en(cou)raged to fill in...
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Fantasy and Haiti's Erasure in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!
In William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! (1936), a story otherwise bounded by clear and uncontroverted historical markers, the central character, Thomas Sutpen, embarks on a fantastical island excursion--an adventure that accomplishes two related but...
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Laying Down the Rails: Sacred and Secular Groundwork in Zora Neale Hurston's Jonah's Gourd Vine and King Vidor's Hallelujah
"Dey talkin' 'bout passin' laws tuh keep black folks from buying railroad tickets." --Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine Though it is clear that the characters in the novel Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)...
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