Front Porch: Summer 1999

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Front Porch: Summer 1999

by Harry L. Watson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 5, No. 2: Summer 1999

"If there are many Souths, enjoy them all."

Back in the 1930s, the late W. J. Cash made quite a name for himself with The Mind ofthe South, his passionate analysis of what made the U.S. South different from the rest of the country. Cash acknowledged the existence of southern diversity, but he discounted it. “If it can be said there are many Souths,” he allowed, “the fact remains that there is also one South.” Cash thought there was one underlying cultural fabric wrapping together the different Souths of mountain, coast, and Gulf, upcountry and bayou. He called this fabric “a fairly definite mental pattern, associated with a fairly definite social pattern,” and devoted himself to describing it with his hypnotic, richly textured prose.