Access Type

Online access to this book is only available to eligible users.



Download Full Text (3.9 MB)


A leading figure in modern southern literature, described by Newsweek as "one of the best American storytellers," Peter Taylor secured a national following through his long relationship with the New Yorker and his widely read volumes from the 1980s, The Old Forest and Other Stories and A Summons to Memphis. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author's portrayals of the battles of strong-willed fathers and mothers with their equally strong-willed sons are at the center of his achievement in fiction.

David Robinson presents Taylor as a writer deeply concerned with the interworkings of family relationships, and emphasizes his role as chronicler of the shifts in southern culture in this century. World of Relations provides an important critical assessment of the work of one of the South's greatest writers, and includes the first extensive critical discussion of Taylor's last two works, The Oracle of Stoneleigh Court (1993) and In the Tennessee Country (1994).

David M. Robinson is Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Oregon Professor of English at Oregon State University.

"The study is thoroughly analytical, principally of themes rather than techniques, and robustly evaluative."—Choice

"Robinson is smart and subtle, revealing considerable insights into the complex layers of Taylor’s fiction and plays."—David Lynn

"Encourages not only a reevaluation of Taylor’s essential themes, but also new approaches that might situate Taylor’s work in relation to other mid-century diagnosticians of family collapse."—Mississippi Quarterly

"Sensitive, informed, and insightful, Robinson’s study deftly explores Taylor’s richly nuanced fictional world, particularly the complex dynamics of domestic and cultural turmoil lurking just beneath the mannered calm of southern gentility."—Robert Brinkmeyer

"Robinson shows through sound survey and analysis how Taylor’s entire oeuvre is of a piece artistically and thematically."—Southern Literary Journal

"A very helpful examination of a major storyteller."—Southern Seen

"Demonstrates the enormous complexity of Taylor’s characters."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"Deftly connecting struggles for independence within the family setting to larger tensions within the social structure of the South at midcentury, Robinson establishes Taylor's place among the leading chroniclers of Southern culture in the twentieth century."—American Literature

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Peter Taylor, Southern literature


Literature in English, North America

World of Relations: The Achievement of Peter Taylor
Read Sample Off-campus Download