In this study, Fred Hobson offers an examination of some of the prominent new figures in Southern fiction. While he discovers no shortage of talent, he does find conflicting attitudes toward the South and the contemporary world. Especially concerned with the relationship of these new writers to their literary predecessors, he traces the continuity - or lack of continuity - of certain attitutes, fictional approaches, and even values that informed Southern writing during its earlier flowering in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Looking at novels by Bobbie Ann Mason, Lee Smith, and Barry Hannah, Hobson focuses chiefly on the differing ways these writers have responded to the incursion of commercial culture - television, rock, music, and theme parks - into a society long sustained by family, religion, tradition, and community.
Fred Hobson is a professor of English and Lineberger Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His books include "The Southern Writer in the Postmodern World" (Georgia), "But Now I See: The White Southern Racial Conversion Narrative," and "Mencken: A Life."