Explorations in Southern Autobiography
Inscoes vast knowledge of southern life-writing, his grounding in southern history, and his insight into the various southern tempers have resulted in a book that is a significant contribution to the field. |Infused with insights drawn from the vast experiences of an accomplished scholar, a caring teacher, and a passionate and empathetic reader. Inscoes defense of the unique potential that autobiography has to shape our emotional understanding of the southern past is lucid, engaging, and utterly convincing. |These highly readable essays offer nuanced and probing examinations of a wide range of important and, in the case of quite a few, neglected U.S. southern autobiographies and memoirs. With its original and arresting insights into the psychological repercussions of racism, classism, and gender discrimination, John C. Inscoes Writing the South through the Self is especially valuable to anyone who teaches life writing in the South or the history of Jim Crow. |This book is an answer to a prayer for people wanting to learn about and understand the South. Along with good history on a complex region of the United States, we see it through the eyes and hearts of Southerners telling their own stories. From racism, white life in Appalachia, mixed race identities, to the agonies of Jim Crow, we hear the voices of Lillian Smith, Richard Wright, Jimmy Carter, Zora Neale Hurston, and a host of others speaking in this absorbing book. |[The books] breadth and the richness of its sources and interpretation make this book an important contribution to southern studies and biographical research. |Writing the South through the Self provides a solid introductory text for scholars and students looking to survey the parameters of southern autobiographical writing. |Writing the South is without a doubt a valuable contribution to the field of southern studies. |Using lives recounted by the southerners who lived them, Inscoe skillfully teases out meanings about the larger southern experience embedded in memoir. . . . In his hands, autobiography becomes an excellent teaching tool, which he uses to inspire students and promote empathy.
JOHN C. INSCOE is a professor of history emeritus at the University of Georgia and the founding editor of the New Georgia Encyclopedia. He is coauthor of The Heart of Confederate Appalachia.