Jean W. Cash

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Biography

Jean W. Cash is the author of Flannery O’Connor: A Life and coeditor of Larry Brown and the Blue-Collar South, a collection of essays on the Mississippi writer who died in 2004. Her biography, Larry Brown: A Writer’s Life, won the Eudora Welty Prize and The Society of Southern Studies prize for nonfiction. Cash recently presented a paper on William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner and Nate Parker's The Birth of the Nation to the American Literature Association.

 


Schedule

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 2
Discussion
Rough South, Rural South: Region and Class in Recent Southern Literature

2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Book Signing


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Rough South, Rural South: Region and Class in Recent Southern Literature (editor)

A CRITICAL COMPANION TO THE STRIKING VARIETY OF CONTEMPORARY SOUTHERN LITERATURE

Contributions by Barbara Bennett, Thomas Ærvold Bjerre, Erik Bledsoe, Jean W. Cash, Linda Byrd Cook, Thomas E. Dasher, Robert Donahoo, Peter Farris, Richard Gaughran, William Giraldi, Rebecca Godwin, Joan Wylie Hall, Marcus Hamilton, Gary Hawkins, David K. Jeffrey, Emily Langhorne, Shawn E. Miller, Wade Newhouse, L. Lamar Nisly, bes Stark Spangler, Joe Samuel Starnes, and Scott Hamilton Suter

Essays in Rough South, Rural South describe and discuss the work of southern writers who began their careers in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. They fall into two categories. Some, born into the working class, strove to become writers and learned without the benefit of higher education, such writers as Larry Brown and William Gay. Others came from lower- or middle-class backgrounds and became writers through practice and education: Dorothy Allison, Tom Franklin, Tim Gautreaux, Clyde Edgerton, Kaye Gibbons, Silas House, Jill McCorkle, Chris Offutt, Ron Rash, Lee Smith, Brad Watson, Daniel Woodrell, and Steve Yarbrough. Their twenty-first-century colleagues are Wiley Cash, Peter Farris, Skip Horack, Michael Farris Smith, Barb Johnson, and Jesmyn Ward.

In his seminal article, Erik Bledsoe distinguishes Rough South writers from such writers as William Faulkner and Erskine Caldwell. These writers undercut stereotypes, forcing readers to see the working poor differently. The next pieces begin with those on Harry Crews and Cormac McCarthy, major influences on an entire generation. Nearly all of the writers hold a reverence for the South's landscape and its inhabitants as well as an af nity for realistic depictions of setting and characters.

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