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Title: The Gospel according to no one and rewriting the South : Eudora Welty and the self-conscious Southern novel
Authors: Mitchell, Phillip Edward
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Both my novel and the critical work explore Southern places, how they are defined and how Southern people imbue them with meaning—sometimes multiple and paradoxical meanings—and, in turn, how those places define them. In my novel, The Gospel According to No One, narratives tied to place are pitted against each other: New South versus Old South, fundamentalism versus liberalism, nihilism versus the mythic worldview, and the Agrarian Proprietary Ideal versus what some scholars see as the homogenizing forces of Late Capitalism. The struggles between these discourses threaten to undo order within the city. Those who survive forge new identities from the fragments of postmodernism, inventing new narratives about both themselves and the places they inhabit. My work on Eudora Welty also examines multiple Southern discourses. I argue that Welty’s self-conscious focus on reproductions of the South in Delta Wedding and The Optimist’s Daughter challenges the idea of a monolithic South, which also challenges any definitive categorization of Welty and her relationship to the imagined (the only ‘real’) South. In the bridging section of the work, I explain why I chose Welty as a subject of study, explore connections between postmodernism and Southern literature, suggest a definition of the South that is reflective of Place, and examine my creative work in light of the theoretical issues I have encountered.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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