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Plantation airs : racial paternalism and the transformations of class in southern fiction, 1945-1971

Author: Brannon Costello
Publisher: Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, ©2007.
Series: Southern literary studies.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"In Plantation Airs, Brannon Costello argues persuasively for new attention to the often-neglected issue of class in southern literary studies. Focusing on the relationship between racial paternalism and social class in American novels written after World War II, Costello asserts that well into the twentieth century, attitudes and behaviors associated with an idealized version of agrarian antebellum aristocracy -  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Costello, Brannon, 1975-
Plantation airs.
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, ©2007
(OCoLC)608393205
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Brannon Costello
ISBN: 9780807132708 0807132705
OCLC Number: 123539519
Description: x, 203 pages ; 23 cm.
Contents: The problem of Flem Snopes's hat : Southern history, racial paternalism, and class --
Paternalism, progress, and "pet negroes" : Zora Neale Hurston's Seraph on the Suwanee --
Playing lady and imitating aristocrats : race, class, and money in Eudora Welty's Delta wedding and The ponder heart --
Stopping on a dime : race, class, and the "White economy of material waste" in William Faulkner's The mansion and The reivers --
Mechanics and mulattoes : class, work and race in Ernest Gaines's Of love and dust and "Bloodline" --
"Super-negroes" and hybrid aristocrats : race and class in Walker Percy's The last gentlemen and Love in the ruins --
From "pet negro" to "magic negro" : hyperreal paternalism.
Series Title: Southern literary studies.
Responsibility: Brannon Costello.
More information:

Abstract:

"In Plantation Airs, Brannon Costello argues persuasively for new attention to the often-neglected issue of class in southern literary studies. Focusing on the relationship between racial paternalism and social class in American novels written after World War II, Costello asserts that well into the twentieth century, attitudes and behaviors associated with an idealized version of agrarian antebellum aristocracy - especially, those of racial paternalism - were believed to be essential for white southerners. The wealthy employed them to validate their identities as "aristocrats," while less-affluent whites used them to separate themselves from "white trash" in the social hierarchy. Even those who were not legitimate heirs of plantation-owning families found that "putting on airs" associated with the legacy of the plantation could align them with the forces of power and privilege and offer them a measure of authority in the public arena that they might otherwise lack." "Fiction by Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Ernest Gaines, Walker Percy, and others reveals, however, that the racial paternalism central to class formation and mobility in the South was unraveling in the years after World War II, when the civil rights movement and the South's increasing industrialization dramatically altered southern life. Costello demonstrates that these writers were keenly aware of the ways in which the changes sweeping the South complicated the deeply embedded structures that governed the relationship between race and class. He further contends that the collapse of racial paternalism as a means of organizing class lies at the heart of their most important works. By examining ways in which these works depict and critique the fall of the plantation ideal and its aftermath, Plantation Airs indicates the richness and complexity of the literary responses to this intersection of race and class."--Jacket.

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