"Incisive. . . . The combination of revisionist history, felicitous writing, and dry humor makes this volume well worth reading."
—Journal of American History
"A challenging work, bound to stir controversy, and worthy of the scrutiny of all serious students of the American South. Unusual for a collection of essays spanning fifteen years’ publication, this volume possesses a remarkable unity of theme and content. In ten perceptive chapters, the author confronts those historians who see little of lasting value in the South’s past literature, art, and scholarship. He argues with conviction that the textures of southern life cannot be fully comprehended without an appreciations of its intelligentsia."
In his thoughtful introduction and throughout the ten essays that follow, O'Brien stresses the tradition of Romanticism as a central theme, binding togethere figures as disparate as critic Hugh Legare, literary scholar Edwin Mims, poets Richard Henry Wilde and Allen Tate, and historians W. J. Cash and C. Vann Woodward.
First published as a collection in 1988, these essays confirm O’Brien’s position as a pioneer in establishing and defining the enterprise of southern intellectual history.
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