Undead Souths: The Gothic and Beyond in Southern Literature and Culture

Edited by Eric Gary Anderson, Taylor Hagood, and Daniel Cross Turner. Louisiana State Univ., $42.50 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8071-6107-4
This illuminating anthology of literary criticism examines the origins—and persistence—of the living dead in the Southern gothic tradition. If readers are prepared for a mostly academic examination of the topic, they will find a strong selection of essays bringing attention to lesser-known practitioners of the dark literary arts, such as Shani Mootoo and Randall Kenan, as well as famous names like Edgar Allan Poe and Cormac McCarthy. "I want to tell a story because like all good Southerners, I was formed by storytellers," Rain Prud'homme C. Gomez declares in her essay "Crossing the Log: Death, Regionality and Race in Jeremy Love's Bayou," which discusses how the South's "land, people, and memory" refuse erasure. Other essays in the anthology take up more familiar terrain: Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder's "Faulkner's Deathways: The Race and Space of Mourning" examines "Faulkner's dark vision of [state power]," in which "identity continues to be determined by the legacies of slavery." This collection is well worth the time of those interested in a close examination of the origins of Southern gothic literature. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/14/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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