The blossoming of Appalachian studies began some thirty years ago. Thousands of young people from the hills have since been made aware of their region's rich literary tradition through high school and college courses. An entire generation has discovered that their own landscapes, families, and communities had been truthfully portrayed by writers whose background was similar to their own.
An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature is an anthology of literary criticism of Appalachian novelists, poets, and playwrights. The book reprises critical writing of influential authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Cratis Williams, and Jim Wayne Miller. It introduces new writing by Rodger Cunningham, Elizabeth Engelhardt, and others.
Many writers from the mountains have found success and acclaim outside the region, but the region itself as a thriving center of literary creativity has not been widely appreciated. The editors of An American Vein have remedied this, producing the first general collection of Appalachian literary criticism. This book is a resource for those who teach and read Appalachian literature. What's more, it holds the promise of introducing new readers, nationally and internationally, to Appalachian literature and its relevance to our times.
Danny L. Miller is the chair of the Department of Literature and Language at Northern Kentucky University. He is the author of Wingless Flights: Appalachian Women in Fiction. Sharon Hatfield is an independent writer and editor whose interests include Appalachian history, literature, and media. She is the author of Never Seen the Moon: The Trials of Edith Maxwell. Guerney Norman is a novelist and short story writer whose works include Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories and Divine Right's Trip. He is the director of the creative writing program at the University of Kentucky and coeditor of Back Talk from Appalachia: Confronting Stereotypes.
Preface Introduction 1: New Directions: Folk or Hillbilly? Cratis D. Williams 2: Appalachian Literature at Home in This World Jim Wayne Miller 3: Jesse Stuart and James Still: Mountain Regionalists Dayton Kohler 4: The Changing Poetic Canon: The Case of Jesse Stuart and Ezra Pound Charles H. Daughaday 5: James Still's Poetry: "The Journey a Worldly Wonder" Jeff Daniel Marion 6: On Harriette Arnow's The Dollmaker Joyce Carol Oates 7: The Christian and the Classic in The Dollmaker Barbara Hill Rigney 8: Social Criticism in the Works of Wilma Dykeman Oliver King Jones III 9: Casting a Long Shadow: The Tall Woman Patricia Gantt 10: O Beulah Land: The "Yaller Vision" of Jeremiah Catlett Jane Gentry Vance 11: The Beulah/Canona Connection: Mary Lee Settle's Autobiographies Nancy Carol Joyner 12: The Appalachian Homeplace as Oneiric House in Jim Wayne Miller's The Mountains Have Come Closer Don Johnson 13: The Mechanical Metaphor: Machine and Tool Images in The Mountains Have Come Closer Ricky Cox 14: Kin and Kindness in Gurney Norman's Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories Danny L. Miller 15: "The Primal Ground of Life": The Integration of Traditional and Countercultural Values in the Work of Gurney Norman Timothy J. Dunn 16: John Ehle and Appalachian Fiction Leslie Banner 17: The Power of Language in Lee Smith's Oral History Corinne Dale 18: A New, Authoritative Voice: Fair and Tender Ladies Dorothy Combs Hill 19: "Where's Love?": The Overheard Quest in the Stories of Jo Carson Robert J. Higgs 20: Family Journeys in Jo Carson's Daytrips Anita J. Turpin 21: Points of Kinship: Community and Allusion in Fred Chappell's Midquest John Lang 22: Fred Chappell's Urn of Memory: I Am One of You Forever Hilbert Campbell 23: Coming Out from Under Calvinism: Religious Motifs in Robert Morgan's Poetry John Lang 24: Robert Morgan's Mountain Voice and Lucid Prose Cecelia Conway 25. Class and Identity in Denise Giardina's Storming Heaven Terry Easton 26: Cormac McCarthy: Restless Seekers John G. Cawelti 27. Claiming a Literary Space: The Affrilachian Poets Theresa L. Burriss 28: Nature-Loving Souls and Appalachian Mountains: The Promise of Feminist Ecocriticism Elizabeth Engelhardt 29: The Wolves of Egypt: John Crowley's Appalachians Rodger Cunningham Supplemental Notes on Authors Contributors Index