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Since the early 1970s southern fiction has been increasingly attentive to social issues, including the continuing struggles for racial justice and gender equality, the loss of a sense of social community, and the decline of a coherent regional identity. The essays in The World Is Our Home focus on writers who have explicitly addressed social and cultural issues in their fiction and drama, including Dorothy Allison, Horton Foote, Ernest J. Gaines, Jill McCorkle, Walker Percy, Lee Smith, William Styron, Alice Walker, and many others. The contributors provide valuable insights into the transformation of southern culture over the past thirty years and probe the social and cultural divisions that persist. The collection makes an important case for the centrality of social critique in contemporary southern fiction.

Jeffrey J. Folks is professor of literature at Doshisha University in Japan.

Nancy Summer Folks is a freelance editor with more than 15 years experience working with Southern literature.

"This book is an important text for the student of southern literature and history because each author examined is writing from the other side of the turbulent Fifties and Sixties, from having seen rural towns become burgeoning cities, and from having witnessed the politically disenfranchised attempt to join the mainstream."—Journal of the American Studies Association

"The essays challenge popular perceptions about the South and lend insight into the cultural and literary future of the region."—Book News

"The editors’ introduction succinctly summarizes a quarter-century of literary scholarship with a social focus. Strongly recommended."—Choice

"Multifaceted and illuminating. . . . These essays provide the kind of new critical perspectives southern fiction demands and deserves as it continues to depict social and cultural changes. The editors and essayists have paved the way for our understanding of the future of southern fiction."—David Madden

"These essays challenge popular perceptions about the South and lend insight into the cultural and literary future of the region."—Educational Book Review

"A satisfying collection of essays by scholars who have proved themselves as solid commentators in the field of southern literature."—Fred Hobson

"Reminds us, as have previous scholars of Southern literature, that the literature of the American South is much more varied and variegated than we often imagine. We should be thankful for this reminder."—Mississippi Quarterly

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Southern literature, Southern culture, American literature


Literature in English, North America

The World Is Our Home: Society and Culture in Contemporary Southern Writing
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