Karen Stokes’s Reconstruction Novel
Awhile back it was theorised by some that Southern literature’s era of greatness was coming to an end with the changes taking place in our region. Abbeville Scholar Karen Stokes of Charleston single-handedly disproves that theory. If I count correctly, seven books published in about as many years—four history and three fiction. It is rare to find a writer who can excel at both. Honor in the Dust(Seattle: Ring of Fire Publishing) is her latest. If you want to find out what our people suffered, materially and spiritually, from The War and Reconstruction, this is the place to go for a vivid depiction.
William Gilmore Simms and Southern Nationalism
Simms was one of the most important American writers of the 19th century, a proven fact long ignored by the New England/New York mafia that controls U.S. literary scholarship and criticism. Tremendously versatile and original, he was certainly the equal of any American writer of the time except for another Southerner, Edgar Allan Poe. Abbeville Scholar Jeffery J. Rogers’s new work tackles the nearly unknown territory of Simms’s relationship to the Confederacy and Southern nationalism: A Southern Writer and the Civil War: The Confederate Imagination of William Gilmore Simms(Lanham, MD: Lexington Books). The phenomenon of “nationalism” has been the subject of a large and contentious scholarly literature. Professor Rogers’s description of this literature is a model of objective scholarly understanding and exposition. Did the South, or the Confederacy, have a true “nationalism”? Or did the lack of any true “nationalism” contribute to the failure of a War of Independence? Rogers’s exploration of this contested question is an important contribution to the ongoing redemption of Simms from under-recognition and misunderstanding. Abbeville Scholars have played a major role in this vital cultural initiative. James E. Kibler is the father of modern Simms scholarship. Sean Busick and David Aiken have made important contributions.