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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

13. Southern Renaissance

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Overview Questions

Instructor Overview
A brief description of the literary movement within its historical context.
• How do Southern Renaissance writers portray American identity differently from writers from other regions? How do Southern Renaissance writers use race, class, and gender as part of identity? What roles do history, tradition, and heritage play in the work of these writers?

• Many writers of the Southern Renaissance achieved popularity and/or critical acclaim during their lifetimes, but faded into obscurity for years before being "rescued" by later critics who recognized their achievements as among the greatest in American literature. What accounts for such a roller coaster of critical reception? What does the uneven critical reception of these writers tell us about American "literature" and what constitutes "greatness"? How do the different social and economic backgrounds of writers in the Southern Renaissance influence what and how they write?

• What is "the South" for writers of the Southern Renaissance? How is "the South" both place and time, and how does it relate to "the North" and the United States more generally?

• What stylistic and thematic interests do Southern Renaissance writers have in common? How do these writers attempt to connect the past and the future via style and theme?

• How does the myth of the "Old South" appear to the writers of the Southern Renaissance? How do these writers portray the "New South"? In what ways do Southern Renaissance writers imagine or create a new "New South"?

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