Possum and Other Receipts for the Recovery of “Southern” Being

Marion Montgomery


"Montgomery's book is well written. It is occasionally witty, often erudite, always engaging—and there's not a vague sentence in its pages. . . . Certainly Montgomery is right in asserting that Western Man's attitude toward Nature and his consequent attitude toward himself have infected the roots of Western being. . . . Montgomery's concerns are the right ones."
Southern Quarterly

"The drama of Montgomery's account is the realism of being over against the political and literary ideologies of the modern age which seek to substitute for this reality that the genuine poet or philosopher finds. Montgomery is at all times deadly serious and quite funny-the sign of any healthy incarnational metaphysics."
Homiletic & Pastoral Review

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In this volume, Marion Montgomery ponders two very different varieties of possum as the starting point for a literary, philosophical, and poetic inquiry into the nature of Southernness. The first possum is the familiar marsupial, native to the American South, in whose modest status can be seen an image of the lowly ground to which all our dreams must remain anchored. The second possum is the first-person singular present of the Latin verb posse; rendered as "I am able," this possum embodies the movement in which men, since the Old Adam, have elevated themselves beyond their estate, taking for themselves sole credit for the world they see around them.

Prescribing a way of thought by which men can regain the balance that modernity has led them to relinquish, Possum, and Other Receipts for the Recovery of "Southern" Being posits a concept of Southernness that is a state of the soul rather than a result of geography, a Southernness in which man's mind and his moments of vision are kept in harmony with nature, with the reality of the world given to man.

Page count: 176 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $23.95

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Marion Montgomery is a poet, novelist, and critic who taught English at the University of Georgia for more than thirty years. His most recent books include With Walker Percy at the Tupperware Party: in Company with Flannery O'Connor, T. S. Eliot, and Others and Hillbilly Thomist: Flannery O'Connor, St. Thomas and the Limits of Art, as well as On Matters Southern: Essays About Literature and Culture, 1964-2000.