On Matters Southern

Essays About Literature and Culture, 1964–2000

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About the Book

Marion Montgomery, family man, citizen, professor, literary critic, poet, philosopher, is a prolific defender of the poetic, cultural and critical vision of the Fugitive poets, the Southern Agrarian writers, and the New Critics of the 20th century. He has published more than 20 major works of criticism in the past 40 years.
This volume presents 16 of his essays, selected and edited by Michael M. Jordan with a foreword by noted historian Eugene D. Genovese. It is a good introduction to the thinking and writing of a man who speaks for southern conservatism with passion and imagination, with head and heart, exercising both faith and reason.
This work is divided into five sections—“The Author at Work and at Home,” “On Place and Region,” “On Fugitives, Agrarians, and New Critics,” “On Individual Authors” and “On Books and Schooling.” In the essays Montgomery discusses the importance of place in all serious literature, but especially in southern letters. He notes differences between southern and northern fiction. He pays tribute to Andrew Lytle, Madison Jones, and M.E. Bradford, and explicates the fiction of Walker Percy. Taken together, the essays reveal Montgomery’s gifts and temperament: a keen intellect combined with a reverential awareness of the importance of tradition.

About the Author(s)

The late Marion Montgomery was professor emeritus of English at the University of Georgia. In 2003, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute honored Montgomery with the Gerhart Niemeyer Award for Distinguished Contributions to Scholarship in Liberal Arts. He lived in Crawford, Georgia.
Editor Michael M. Jordan is associate professor of English and department chairman at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, where he has been teaching literature and composition for the last 15 years. He has written for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, Modern Age, The University Bookman, The Southern Partisan and other journals of scholarship and opinion.

Bibliographic Details

Marion Montgomery
Foreword by Eugene D. Genovese
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 214
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2224-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Foreword by Eugene D. Genovese      1
Preface by Michael M. Jordan      13

PART I: THE AUTHOR AT WORK AND AT HOME
1. The Country, Here      19
2. Of Mulls and Memories      24

PART II: ON PLACE AND REGION
3. Georgia as a Place for Writers      31
4. Is Regional Writing Dead?      37
5. Ceremony and the Regional Spirit      41
6. The Sense of Violation: Notes Toward a Definition of “Southern” Fiction      47
7. Southern Letters in the Twentieth Century: The Articulation of a Tradition      57

PART III: ON FUGITIVES, AGRARIANS, AND NEW CRITICS
8. Bells for John Stewart’s Burden      79
9. The Agrarians: Here and Now      114
10. Misunderstanding Criticism      120

PART IV: ON INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS
11. For Andrew, in Celebration      129
12. How to Get Here From There: A Tribute to Madison Jones on Our Passage through Gehenna      133
13. Remembering Who M.E. Bradford Is      142
14. Walker Percy and the Christian Scandal      167

PART V: ON BOOKS AND SCHOOLING
15. Books, Books, Books: Difficult Choices in Time of Intellectual Stress      183
16. To My Son, Going Away to School      195

Books by Marion Montgomery      199
Index      201

Book Reviews & Awards

“engaging…readers…will be rewarded in reading [Montgomery]”—Modern Age; “timely”—Weekly Standard; “I regard Marion Montgomery as one of the most acute and profound criticis of present-day American culture. He brings to his discussion of it penetrating insight and solid scholarship.”—Cleanth Brooks.