A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the by Richard H. King

By Richard H. King

A research of an important cultural circulate, this article exhibits how Southern writers of 1930 to 1955 attempted to come back to phrases with Southern culture. It discusses the ensuing physique of important literature - fiction, poetry, memoirs and historic writing.

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Time is denied. Paul Ricoeur extends Freud's discussion of the relationship of fantasy to reality by noting that in aberrant cultural situations the cultural principle in the individual, the super-ego, is more than normally driven by aggressive impulses, guilt (aggression against the self), and over-idealizations. "2r> Rather than enforcing the binding power of Eros, guilt unravels the collective and individual worlds. As we shall see in works such as Faulkner's Flags in the Dust and Light in August and Percy's Lanterns on the Levee, cultural melancholia embodied the lost tradition in figures of death, at once idealized and feared because of their powerful hold over the present and because of their absence.

That decade saw the peak period of lynchings in the South but more significantly it saw the formalization of social segregation in Dixie. The years between 1890 and World War I represented the culmination of trends in race relations at work since 1865, In a systematic and "legal" way, following largely upon the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which declared that segregation by public authorities was constitutional if "separate but equal" facilities were maintained, barriers were erected to delimit the social contact between the races.

Odum founded the journal Social Forces in 1922 and immediately began calling for the South to abandon its outmoded romanticism and stifling intolerance and to adopt an open, objective attitude toward its problems and potentialities. But over the next several years the various articles he (and others) published in Social Forces dealing with science and religion, the labor movement and race aroused considerable opposition from the North Carolina clergy and business community. Odum deeply regretted the publicity surrounding the Scopes trial and considered it an example of the failure of intellectuals to make contact with the "people" and educate them.

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