A Southern Weave of Women
Fiction of the Contemporary South

Linda Tate

A multicultural view of recent writing by southern women


"Tate unearths in these writers a distinctive, realistic narrative strategy that rejects postmodernist metafiction and redefines the role of the southern woman, who wrested power from the dominant (white, male, middle-class) culture. . . . A good introduction to a feminist reading of southern writers."
Library Journal

Since 1980 the South has experienced a tremendous resurgence in fiction by women—black and white, rich and poor, from the Deep South and from Appalachia. This revival marks a critical stage in the development of southern literature, for it offers a revisionary, multicultural, feminist, yet still traditionally southern perspective. A Southern Weave of Women is one of the first sustained treatments of the generation of women writers who came of age in the post-World War II South as well as one of the first to situate southern literature fully within a multicultural context.

Linda Tate considers the ways in which the women writers of the present generation reflect, expand, transform, and redefine long-standing notions of regional culture and womanhood. Focusing on women who suggest the regional, class, and ethnic diversity of contemporary southern writing, Tate discusses such writers as Jill McCorkle, Shay Youngblood, Ellen Douglas, Dori Sanders, Rita Mae Brown, Lee Smith, Alice Walker, Bobbie Ann Mason, Linda Beatrice Brown, and Kaye Gibbons. As these women carve out new definitions of southern womanhood, Tate contends, they also look for ways to retain what is valuable about past conceptions while seeking to revise and expand the traditional roles. In doing so, they reconsider their relationships to home, family, and other southern women; to issues of race and class in the South; to women's obscured role in the region's past; and to the southern land itself. Situating the works of these writers within a larger social context, Tate examines their misinterpretation by male filmmakers and lauds the corrective role that small and independent presses have played in providing a vehicle through which myopic male visions of southern women might be countered.

Page count: 256 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 8.75


List price: $26.95

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Linda Tate is an assistant professor of English at Shepherd College.