Category: southern history

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Lillian Smith’s “Memory of a Large Christmas”

Lillian E. Smith published Memory of Large Christmas in 1962. The book, essentially, is a collection of humorous and memorable anecdotes about the large, bountiful Smith family Christmases. In the back of the book, Smith includes recopies for turkey dressing, pork salad, ambrosia, and more. Today, I want to look at one of the scenes that Smith relates in the book. The scene occurs … Read More Lillian Smith’s “Memory of a Large Christmas”

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American History and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Last post, I wrote about the Southern paradoxes in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Today, I want to look at the opening of the novel because Scout traces the events of the novel deep into our nation’s history, before Jem, Scout, or Atticus arrived on the scene. This is important because for all of the missed moments of reflection in the novel, the … Read More American History and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

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Current and Future Projects at the Lillian E. Smith Center

Over the past few weeks, I have been settling into my new position as the Director of the Lillian E. Smith Center (LES Center). During this process, I have started to read more of Smith’s work and learned more about her life and social justice work, specifically through the Laurel Falls Camp and during the Civil Rights movement. There is a lot I could … Read More Current and Future Projects at the Lillian E. Smith Center

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Why do we travel?

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain. Talking about what travel does to one’s worldview, he wrote in Innocents Abroad, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” … Read More Why do we travel?

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Why does history matter?

Visiting one of the museums here in Bergen, I walked through the rooms of Edvard Munch’s work, stopping in front of Ungdom (Youth). Ungdom is a large portrait of a boy with a multicolored background behind him that looks, in many ways, like waves. As I started at the portrait, I walked closer and peered at the background near the boy’s right arm and … Read More Why does history matter?

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Language in William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury”: Part I

Over the past few posts, I have been writing about Ernest Hemingway, modernism, the ways that language constructs meaning, and how authors such as Hemingway interrogated these constructions. Today, I want to look briefly at another modernist author who does the same thing in a slightly different manner than Hemingway. That author, of course, is William Faulkner, and the novel is The Sound and … Read More Language in William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury”: Part I

The Master Narrative in Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing”

Last post, I wrote about some of the Gothic elements in issues #41 and #42 of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and the repetition of the “unsuccessfully repressed.” Today, I want to continue that discussion some by looking at the conclusion of issue #42, “Strange Fruit.” Rather than breaking with the past by burning the roots of hate and prejudice, the space shifts from Robertaland … Read More The Master Narrative in Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing”

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What to Expect in 2018!

Welcome to 2018! Back in August 2015, I started Interminable Rambling as a space for me to flesh out thoughts I had concerning texts I was reading, pedagogy, and culture. Since that first post, I have published 236 posts for this site on a myriad of topics such as Mary Rowlandson and Sarah Kemble Knight to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and court cases such … Read More What to Expect in 2018!

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“African American Literature and the American South” Syllabus

Occasionally, I post syllabi ideas here on the blog. Today, I want to share a syllabus I have been thinking about recently entitled “African American Literature and the American South.” The South, as a geographic and imaginary space, looms large in the works of not just African American authors but in writers of all ethnic backgrounds from the United States. Maryemma Graham discusses the … Read More “African American Literature and the American South” Syllabus

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Charlottesville: What do I do in the classroom?

At the end of Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow (1946), Stephen Fox thinks about his son Etienne. The Civil War has just ended, and Stephen ponders what the racism and hate that Etienne carries within himself will bring for the future. Etienne’s feelings and ideas will lead to more bloodshed, more dead bodies, and a stunted progress towards equality. The events in Charlottesville, … Read More Charlottesville: What do I do in the classroom?

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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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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