- The Oxford Handbook of the Literature of the U.S. South
- Literary and Textual Histories of the Native South
- Before Hypodescent: Whitening Equations in South America and the American South
- The Dying Confession of Joseph Hare: Transatlantic Highwaymen and Southern Outlaws in the Antebellum South
- Jackson’s Villes, Squares, and Frontiers of Democracy
- Locality and the Serial South
- The Long Shadow of Torture in the American South
- Masculine Sentiment, Racial Fetishism, and Same-Sex Desire in Antebellum Southern Literature
- Southern Affects: Field and Feeling in a Skeptical Age
- Not-So-Still Waters: Travelers to Florida and the Tropical Sublime
- Indian Knives and Color Lines: Mark Twain from Hannibal to the Jim Crow Raj
- Narrative and Counternarrative in <i>The Leopard’s Spots</i> and <i>The Marrow of Tradition</i>
- The Bright Side: African American Women and the Affective Archive of Southern Racial Uplift
- “Proffered for Your Perusal in Ring by Concentric Ring”: The South and the World in William Faulkner’s Fiction
- Richard Weaver, Lillian Smith, the South, and the World
- Arts of Abjection in James Agee, Walker Evans, and Luis Buñuel
- Tennessee Williams and the Burden of Southern Sexuality Studies
- Reimagining the South of Richard Wright: The Anti-Protest Writing of Albert Murray, Raymond Andrews, and Ernest Gaines
- Letter-Writing, Authorship, and Southern Women Modernists
- Nature and Spirituality in Contemporary Appalachian Poetry
- Southern Religion’s Sexual Charge and the National Imagination
- Their Confederate Kinfolk: African Americans’ Interracial Family Histories
- Mourning, Mockery, and the Post-South in Lars von Trier’s <i>Manderlay</i> and Geraldine Brooks’s <i>March</i>
- Made Things: Structuring Modernity in Southern Poetry
- Four Contemporary Latina/o Writers Ghost the U.S. South
- You Don’t Have to Be Born There: Immigration and Contemporary Fiction of the U.S. South
- Asian Americans, Racial Latency, Southern Traces
- The Woundedness of Southern Literature, Looking Away
Abstract and Keywords
Published within a year of one another, Thomas Dixon’s The Leopard’s Spots (1902) and Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition (1901) both deal with the bloody Wilmington uprising of 1898. Without addressing one another directly, these two novels emerge from a southern literature steeped in nostalgic myth to engage in a focused debate on race, truth, language, and the future of America. It is a vexing debate that never was, a conversation undermined by Dixon’s staunch refusal to engage the kinds of questions Chesnutt poses. While Dixon appeals to the heart and the gut with a style steeped in preacherly oration, Chesnutt raises more cerebral and complex questions about the very nature of race itself. Taken together, the novels reveal not only a series of fundamental disagreements about race, violence, justice, and language, but also, subsuming all else, fundamentally and essentially different understandings of the nature of truth.
Anthony Wilson is Associate Professor of English at LaGrange College. He is the author of Shadow and Shelter: the Swamp in Southern Culture, published in 2005 by the University Press of Mississippi.
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