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A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the by Richard H. King

By Richard H. King

A learn of a tremendous cultural move, this article indicates how Southern writers of 1930 to 1955 attempted to return to phrases with Southern culture. It discusses the ensuing physique of important literature - fiction, poetry, memoirs and old writing.

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Extra resources for A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the American South, 1930-1955

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He was caught in the "crop lien" system by which he mort- 22 A SOUTHERN RENAISSANCE gaged his crop to a merchant in exchange for a loan to see him through the coming year. By 1880 cotton production had reached its highest prewar levels. In place of the dignified old planter or the fiery Cavalier, the merchant and banker as absentee landlords now played a prominent part in the plantation economy. The 18705 saw something new in Southern history—the rise of an indigenous commercial class linked with the emerging railroad, coal, and iron interests but still tied by interest, family, and sentiment to the agricultural sector.

32 The third position came as a compromise between the two. As articulated by Tennessee politician Parson Brownlow and others, it sought to keep the docile, "good" blacks at hand and somehow to isolate or get rid of defiant, "uppity" ones. "33 The New South ideologues, as we have seen, set forth a quasi-paternalistic racial ideal, in which whites claimed responsibility for black moral guidance and education, while at the same lime urging black self-help and self-reliance. " Their ideological heirs were the Southern moderates of the Progressive period already alluded to, who also stressed the "benevolent" paternalism of the educated and enlightened middle-class Southerner.

Indeed the cultural superstructure was divided against itself. The monumental and critical views of the past, one hallowing the past and the other rejecting it, vied with one another for dominance. Between approximately 1900 and World War I a new generation of Southern intellectuals came on the scene. These men might best be described as genteel progressives, the more sophisticated heirs of the New South movement of the previous decades. Publicists, academics, and clergymen, born generally between 1855 and 1875, they were intermediaries between the backward South and the developed North.

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