Skip to content

Vol. 3, No. 2: Summer 1997

  //  summer 1997

Arts & Letters. In this issue, some of our favorite North Carolina writers offer cheers to the North Carolina Museum of Art’s fiftieth anniversary.

Table of Contents

Front Porch: Summer 1997

by Harry L. Watson
What happens when one person looks at the art of another? James Henry Hammond, an ambitious planter-politician of antebellum South Carolina, got one very depressing answer in 1841 when he threw open his dazzling new house to a select circle of Columbia’s most cultivated gentlemen. Hammond later gained immortality by coining the phrase “Cotton is »

The Store of Joys: Writers Celebrate the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Fiftieth Anniversary

by Southern Cultures
Its title borrowed from a Sir Walter Raleigh poem, The Store of Joys is a lively anthology of previously unpublished poetry, fiction, and nonfiction written in response to paintings and sculpture in the North Carolina Museum of Art collection. The forty-five contributors to the book are among North Carolina’s most distinguished writers and include these »

The Country Child, When Overpraised

by Allan Gurganus
“In such heat, this mission sickened him. The killing had been simple, it felt country-necessary, country-right.” And, verily, the head did weigh twenty-seven pounds. And to hold it before him—as you would lift a lantern—costs the young David much strength. Was not his day’s strength already well used by killing so great a warrior? Trumpets »

On Winslow Homer’s Weaning the Calf

by James Applewhite
What shadows my happiness? The boy and calf so linked by     a rope seem to forget all else. Grass recedes to the horizonand chickens roam free. Hay stacked richly as memory bulges          mountainously on the sky.

The Resurrection of Christ

by David Sedaris
Each year our elementary school class took a field trip to the North Carolina Museum of Art. To prepare us for our visit, the board of education sent us a roving arts ambassador, a trained cultural cheerleader. To our fifth-grade class this person arrived in the form of one Mrs. Kingman. This was a woman »

Thomas Hart Benton and the Thresholds of Expression

by Robert Morgan
“But perhaps the greatest discovery for me was the city of Raleigh itself.” In 1962 I entered North Carolina State in engineering. I had attended Emory College at Oxford, Georgia, for one year, but since I did not have a high school diploma, State ranked me as a freshman. I was a farm boy from »

The Goal of a Realist

by Doris Betts
All the time I was growing up in Statesville, I never went to an art museum. There was none; the weekly art teacher in public schools contented herself with the color wheel and the hope of proportiante good likenesses. What hung in my own home were not paintings but illustrations: Columbus’s three ships, that wolf »

“An Effort Toward Good Will and Good Wishes”: Folk Studies and Howard Odum’s Changing View of Race

by Lynn Moss Sanders
“Two friendships lead to an understanding of black culture and broaden a southern progressive’s view of race.” In the 1920s southern sociologists Howard Odum and Guy Johnson saw folklore and race-relations studies as ways to practice Christian good will toward their fellow human beings, but their “good wishes” did not preclude stereotyping the subjects of »

The Landscapes of Louis Rémy Mignot: A Southern Painter Abroad by Katherine E. Manthorne and John W. Coffey (Review)

by Peter H. Wood
Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996 Who is Louis Rémy Mignot? In 1983, when the Virginia Museum in Richmond launched the comprehensive exhibition “Painting in the South, 1564-1980,” this Charleston-born artist was not represented. The exhibition included Florida sunsets by Vermonter William Morris Hunt and by the Pennsylvania luminist Martin Johnson Heade, who took up residence at »

Cleanth Brooks and the Rise of Modern Criticism by Mark Royden Winchell (Review)

by Michael Kreyling
University Press of Virginia, 1996 Cleanth Brooks (1906-1994)- in his later years when his hair had turned shiningly white and when, as his biographer Mark Royden Winchell amply notes, his blue eyes actually did seem to “twinkle”- bore a resemblance to Clarence Oddsbody, the angel sent to rescue George Bailey from despair and suicide in »

Slavery in North Carolina, 1748-1775 by Marvin L. Michael Kay and Lorin Lee Cary (Review)

by Timothy J. Lockley
University of North Carolina Press, 1995 Marvin Kay and Lorin Cary’s new book is an important study of the system of slavery in colonial North Carolina. As the authors correctly point out, most monographs on slavery concentrate on the antebellum period, often focusing exclusively on the last twenty years of southern slavery. This bias in »

The Times Were Strange and Stirring: Methodist Preachers and the Crisis of Emancipation by Reginald F. Hildebrand (Review)

by Joseph M. Flora
Duke University Press, 1995 In God’s Trombones (1927) James Weldon Johnson pays eloquent tribute to the sustaining presence of black ministers for their parishioners, both during slavery and following it. William Faulkner concludes The Sound and the Fury (1929) by reaffirming the spiritual presence of the black preacher, showing the black church as the last bastion of Christianity in »

Passionate Visions of the American South: Self-Taught Artists from 1940 the Present, and exhibit curated and a catalog edited by Alice Rae Yelen (Review)

by Anne L. McClanan
New Orleans Museum of Art, 1993 The exhibition catalog Passionate Visions of the American South embraces a diverse and engaging assemblage of contemporary plain artists. From 1993 to 1995 the exhibition traveled to New Orleans, Berkeley, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and finally to Raleigh; the accompanying catalog is a substantial volume. Although it relies too heavily on »


by John Shelton Reed
Although the southern mother doesn’t have the national fame of her Jewish counterpart, she has been celebrated locally in novels, verse, folklore, and song. And when we’re referring specifically to a southern mother, the word that comes to mind is “Momma” (or “Mama”). With the possible exceptions of “Maw,” stereotypically linked to the mountain South, »

“Make Heaven’s Portals Ring”: Shape-Note Singing

by Gavin James Campbell
“By the last tune, singers have indeed made ‘heaven’s portals ring.'” In 1921 Herbert McNeill Poteat, professor of Latin at Wake Forest University, had heard enough: the abominable condition of southern hymnody must be corrected. Despite the large number of edifying denominational hymnals, he complained, the singing public seemed bent on supporting a horde of »

“A Country Boy Can Survive”: Confessions of an Ex-Shitkicker

by Patrick Huber
Every year I make at least two trips to visit my parents in Ste. Genevieve (pop. 4,411), a predominantly Catholic, mining and farming town in southeastern Missouri. Until it recently closed, my favorite place to hang out while I was home was at the O.K. Corral, a local watering hole where proprietor Wally Bauman served »
Other Issues