By David Marion Holman
In a definite Slant of sunshine, David Marion Holman examines prolific neighborhood American literatures - these of the South and the Midwest - from approximately 1832 to 1925. by way of targeting the position heritage performed within the imaginations of chosen writers of that interval, he seeks to respond to a perennial query: what's "midwestern" approximately midwestern literature, and what's "southern" approximately southern literature? not less than until eventually 1910, Holman says, the fiction of the 2 areas used to be characterised by means of very diversified modes - romance within the South and social realism within the Midwest. For the southerner, the prior was once the plantation, the aristocrat, and the Civil warfare. Even in writing in regards to the current, the southern author, Holman continues, needed to confront, without delay or not directly, the ghosts of the earlier - ghosts that may be exorcised, vilified, or romanticized, yet by no means neglected. For the midwestern author, the earlier was once the pioneer and the settling of the frontier - a earlier of promise unfulfilled and unattained. The midwestern fable right away glorified the typical guy because the promise of the USA and deplored him as venal and narrow-minded. via 1925 modernism had turn into a massive strength in American letters, delivering the following new release of writers - maybe top represented by way of Hemingway within the Midwest and Faulkner within the South - with new methods of confronting outdated ideologies, and those writers synthesized a few of the premises of romance and realism.
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Additional info for A Certain Slant of Light: Regionalism and the Form of Southern and Midwestern Fiction
Hugh Holman. I do so too because for several years I had been working with Dave toward the revision of what had begun as his doctoral dissertation into a book for that series, had seen it develop and take form as it moved from the enforced blandness of a document designed to satisfy the scholarly expectations of a committee of academics, into the more lively and pertinent individuality of a book meant for an anonymous reading audience. It was just about ready, lacking only a possible extension of range at the end that I should have urged Dave to undertake, when the appalling news arrived from Oxford.
He had the gift, and he had the energy and ambition to keep at work. I have taken the liberty of Page 6 inserting a dedication page, knowing full well as I do that Dave would have placed on it precisely the names I have. David Holman has been dead for three-and-a-half years as I write these words; the deprivation seems as keen as ever. I think of an Irish poet's words for a similar loss: I am accustomed to their lack of breath, But not that my dear friend's dear son, Our Sidney and our perfect man, Could share in that discourtesy of death.
Both have distinct regional "minds, " to use W. J. Cash's term; and yet, at the basis of these minds, each has an agrarian philosophy that even today continues as a strong cultural influence. Finally, in their attitudes toward their pasts, the mythologies of these two regions are diametrically opposed. The past of the South is tragic and complete, and the present and the future are measured by the idea of the Lost Cause. The midwestern mind is characterized by its belief in the possibility that the promise of the past can be realized in the future, and the present is thus a constant reminder of the region's and the nation's failure to keep faith with the ideals of the past and with the promise of the future.