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The people's writer : Erskine Caldwell and the South

Author: Wayne Mixon
Publisher: Charlottesville, Va. : University Press of Virginia, ©1995.
Series: Minds of the new South.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
During his long life, Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987) published twenty-five novels, nearly one hundred and fifty short stories, and twelve volumes of nonfiction, and he saw his work translated into more than forty languages. For a brief period his writing made him rich. Throughout his career, he was either notorious or renowned, depending on the observer's outlook. His writing was often banned as obscene or  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Named Person: Erskine Caldwell; Erskine Caldwell; Erskine Caldwell; Erskine Caldwell
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Wayne Mixon
ISBN: 0813916275 9780813916279
OCLC Number: 32200635
Description: xv, 213 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Contents: Introduction: The Character of Erskine Caldwell --
1. The Maverick Preacher's Wayward Son --
2. The Making of a Writer --
3. The Godforsaken South: The Fiction of the Thirties --
4. Radical Activism: The Nonfiction of the Thirties --
5. Changing South, Unchanging Writer: Caldwell in Decline --
and in Resurgence --
6. Caldwell's Achievement.
Series Title: Minds of the new South.
Responsibility: Wayne Mixon.

Abstract:

During his long life, Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987) published twenty-five novels, nearly one hundred and fifty short stories, and twelve volumes of nonfiction, and he saw his work translated into more than forty languages. For a brief period his writing made him rich. Throughout his career, he was either notorious or renowned, depending on the observer's outlook. His writing was often banned as obscene or pornographic, and many people still regard it as mass-market trash. Most critics have considered Caldwell to be only a minor southern writer, often associating him with his worst writing. Yet Saul Bellow suggested he deserved the Nobel Prize, and William Faulkner once characterized him as one of the five best writers of his time, alongside himself, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos. Now a Caldwell revival is under way. In The People's Writer, Wayne Mixon gives Caldwell long-overdue recognition, asserting that his portrayal of social injustice raises his work to the level of greatness. Focusing on Caldwell's writings from the thirties and forties, including Tobacco Road and God's Little Acre, Mixon combines intellectual biography, literary criticism, and cultural history to trace the writer's development. He draws on interviews, newspapers, manuscript collections, and Caldwell's writings to explore his ideas about social issues in the American South. Mixon convincingly demonstrates that the writer blended art and argument to issue strong indictments of racism, sexism, otherworldly religion, an economics that bred poverty, and a politics that ignored the most desperate people in the South. Mixon asserts that Caldwell's portrayal of poor whites and blacks, pathbreaking for its time, qualifies him as one of our great literary realists.

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