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.
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