The Well Wrought “Durn”: A Postmodern Writer in the Southern World

Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2001

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The Well Wrought “Durn”: A Postmodern Writer in the Southern World

by Anne Goodwyn Jones
Southern Cultures, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 2001

"'Southerners can't grasp anything that isn't couched in a Br'er Rabbit tale. They got cornmeal mush for brains.'"


Assignment: In the epigraphs below, kindly circle the terms associated with abstraction, generality, anywhere, anyone, and Platonic idealism, and underline those associated with concretion, particularity, somewhere, someone, and Aristotelian materialism.

The ideology of New Criticism began to crystallize: scientific rationalism was ravaging the “aesthetic life” of the old South, human experience was being stripped of its sensuous particularity, and poetry was a possible solution. The poetic response, unlike the scientific, respected the sensuous integrity of its object: it was not a matter of rational cognition but an affective affair which linked us to the “world’s body” in an essentially religious bond. Through art, an alienated world could be restored to us in all its rich variousness.

—Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory, 46-7