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The angelic mother and the predatory seductress : poor white women in Southern literature of the Great Depression

Author: Ashley Craig Lancaster
Publisher: Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, ©2012.
Series: Southern literary studies.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"In The Angelic Mother and the Predatory Seductress, Ashley Craig Lancaster examines how converging political and cultural movements helped to create dualistic images of southern poor white female characters in Depression-era literature. While other studies address the familial and labor issues that challenged female literary characters during the 1930s, Lancaster focuses on how the evolving eugenics movement  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ashley Craig Lancaster
ISBN: 9780807144459 0807144452 9780807144466 0807144460 9780807144473 0807144479 9780807144480 0807144487
OCLC Number: 760068632
Description: x, 225 pages ; 23 cm.
Contents: Eugenics and politics: unlikely unions and the stereotyping of the Southern poor white woman --
Questioning the eugenic agenda: Faulkner, Caldwell, and Steinbeck: three responses to America's "social responsibility" --
Making the eugenic "myth" a reality: the fictionalizing of Depression-era documentary work --
Up from eugenics: the Gastonia novels and the redefining of the Southern poor white woman.
Series Title: Southern literary studies.
Responsibility: Ashley Craig Lancaster.

Abstract:

"In The Angelic Mother and the Predatory Seductress, Ashley Craig Lancaster examines how converging political and cultural movements helped to create dualistic images of southern poor white female characters in Depression-era literature. While other studies address the familial and labor issues that challenged female literary characters during the 1930s, Lancaster focuses on how the evolving eugenics movement reinforced the dichotomy of altruistic maternal figures and destructive sexual deviants. According to Lancaster, these binary stereotypes became a new analogy for hope and despair in America's future and were well utilized by Depression-era politicians and authors to stabilize the country's economic decline. As a result, the complexity of women's lives was often overlooked in favor of stock characters incapable of individuality. Lancaster studies a variety of works, including those by male authors William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, and John Steinbeck, as well as female novelists Mary Heaton Vorse, Myra Page, Grace Lumpkin, and Olive Tilford Dargan. She identifies female stereotypes in classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and in the work of later writers Dorothy Allison and Rick Bragg, who embrace and share in a poor white background."--Publisher's website.

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