Month: June 2017

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Preaching in the Wilderness: John Marrant and John the Baptist

I enjoy teaching John Marrant’s A Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealing with John Marrant, A Black (1785) for various reasons, chief among them being that Marrant’s narrative destabilizes students’ perceptions about African Americans during the early years of the republic in similar ways that Sarah Kemble Knight does with women during the colonial period and William Apess does with Native Americans later in … Read More Preaching in the Wilderness: John Marrant and John the Baptist

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Frank Yerby’s Benton’s Row and Southern Womanhood

In its review (above) of Frank Yerby's Benton's Row (1954), Jet Magazine mentions the novel's early narrative arc that follows Tom Benton's arrival in the Louisiana community and his relationship with Sarah. The reviewer comments that Tom "is not at all unlike all the other Yerby heroes" and that "in the typical Yerby mold [Tom] emerges as a thoroughgoing rascal, an opportunist who seizes what … Read More Frank Yerby’s Benton’s Row and Southern Womanhood

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Frank Yerby and the Myth of Valor

Frank Yerby’s Benton’s Row appeared in 1954, eight years after his debut novel The Foxes of Harrow (1946) In many ways, the narrative arcs are similar: a mysterious man comes to town, under mysterious circumstances, he makes a fortune, has numerous lovers, and his dynasty crumbles by the end of the novel. While The Foxes of Harrow focuses on Stephen Fox almost exclusively, ending … Read More Frank Yerby and the Myth of Valor

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The Smoldering Embers in Our Presence

Today, I want to conclude the discussion from the previous two posts over the ways that we create memorials and remember the past, particularly in the South. In an interview with Ezra Klein, executive director of the Equal Justice Commission Bryan Stevenson commented, “What we do in the memorial spaces says a lot about who we are.” There is a lot of truth in … Read More The Smoldering Embers in Our Presence