“Going beyond an understanding of place as a function of nostalgia or tradition, Clabough demonstrates how diverse geographic factors condition our physical being in the world as well as more abstract matters of identity formation, individual and collective.”—Daniel Cross Turner, Coastal Carolina University
The idea of place—any place—remains one of our most basic yet slippery concepts. It is a space with boundaries whose limits may be definite or indefinite; it can be a real location or an abstract mental, spiritual, or imaginary construction.
Casey Clabough’s thorough examination of the importance of place in southern literature examines the works of a wide range of authors, including Fred Chappell, George Garrett, William Hoffman, Julien Green, Kelly Cherry, David Huddle, and James Dickey. Clabough expands the definition of “here” beyond mere geography, offering nuanced readings that examine tradition and nostalgia and explore the existential nature of “place.”
Deeply concerned with literature as a form of emotional, intellectual, and aesthetic engagement with the local and the regional, Clabough considers the idea of place in a variety of ways: as both a physical and metaphorical location; as an important factor in shaping an individual, informing one of the ways the person perceives the world; and as a temporal as well as geographic construction.
This fresh and useful contribution to the scholarship on southern literature explains how a text can open up new worlds for readers if they pay close enough attention to place.
Casey Clabough, associate professor of English at Lynchburg College, is the author of six books, including The Art of the Magic Striptease: The Literary Layers of George Garrett.