Postregional Fictions: Barry Hannah and the Challenges of Southern Studies
Published by: LSU Press
Imprint: LSU Press
Sales Date: 2021-07-07
Published: July 2021
306 Pages, 152.00 x 228.00 x 22.80 mm
Temporarily Out Of StockAdd to Wishlist
Drawing from recent debates about the validity of regional studies and skepticism surrounding the efficacy of the concept of authenticity, Clare Chadd?s Postregional Fictions focuses on questions of southern regional authenticity in fiction published by Barry Hannah from 1972 to 2001. The first monograph on the Mississippi author?s work to appear since his death, this study considers the ways in which Hannah?s novels and short stories challenge established conceptual understandings of the U.S. South.
Hannah?s writing often features elements of metafiction, through which the putative sense of ?southernness? his stories dramatize is complicated by an intense self-reflexivity about the extent to which a sense of place has never been foundational or essential but has always been constructed and performed. Such texts locate a productive terrain between the local and the global, with particular relevance for critical apprehensions of the post-South and postsouthern literature. Offering sustained close readings of selected stories, and focusing especially on Hannah?s late work, Chadd argues that his fiction reveals the region constantly shifting in a process of mythmaking, dialogue, and performance. In turn, she uses Hannah?s work to suggest how notions of the ?South? and ?southernness? might survive the various deconstructive approaches leveled against them in recent decades of southern studies scholarship. Rather than seeing an impasse between the regional and the global, Chadd?s reading of Hannah shows the two existing and flourishing in tandem.
In Postregional Fictions, Chadd offers a new interpretation of Hannah based on an appreciation of the vital intersection of southern and postmodern elements in his work.
In Postregional Fictions, Clare Chadd skilfully blends close readings of Barry Hannah?s fiction with a sustained meditation on the current state of, and future prospects for, southern studies.Brian Ward
In her thoughtful and provocative analysis, Chadd reveals how Hannah?s manipulation of language, characters, and themes traditionally associated with canonical southern literature actually constitutes a subversive critique of widely discredited notions of regional exceptionalism built on unhealthy white male nostalgia for a mythical southern past. Yet she also shows how Hannah?s work is grounded in the powerful historical forces and material conditions responsible for a wide variety of fluid, contingent, vexed and yet still somehow discernibly southern identities. Thus Chadd presents Hannah?s fiction as a means to navigate and reconcile tensions between crude old notions of southern distinctiveness and a newer theories of postregionalism that, in their most extreme form, might deny the existence of the South as a useful category of analysis altogether.
This is an important book for anyone interested in Barry Hannah, southern studies, and modern US literature and cultural theory.
Clare Chadd?s Postregional Fictions: Barry Hannah and the Challenges of Southern Studies is a welcome arrival, in more ways than one. The first monograph focused on Hannah in over twenty years (and since Hannah?s death a decade ago), Postregional Fictions combines detailed, convincing analyses of Hannah?s fiction with an impressive ability to locate that work amid larger critical debates about modernism, postmodernism, and regionalism. Chadd?s compelling readings of Hannah also challenge key tenets of the new southern studies. Martyn Bone