Summoning the Dead
166 pages
English

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166 pages
English

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Description

The first book-length examination of the award-winning author of poetry and fiction firmly rooted in Appalachia

Since his dramatic appearance on the southern literary stage with his debut novel, One Foot in Eden, Ron Rash has continued a prolific outpouring of award-winning poetry and fiction. His status as a regular on the New York Times Best Sellers list, coupled with his impressive critical acclaim—including two O. Henry Awards and the Frank O'Connor Award for Best International Short Fiction—attests to both his wide readership and his brilliance as a literary craftsman. In Summoning the Dead, editors Randall Wilhelm and Zackary Vernon have assembled the first book-length collection of scholarship on Ron Rash. The volume features the work of respected scholars in southern and Appalachian studies, providing a disparate but related constellation of interdisciplinary approaches to Rash's fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

The editors contend that Rash's work is increasingly relevant and important on regional, national, and global levels in part because of its popular and scholarly appeal and also its invaluable social critiques and celebrations, thus warranting academic attention. Wilhelm and Vernon argue that studying Rash is important because he encourages readers and critics alike to understand Appalachia in all its complexity and he consistently provides portrayals of the region that reveal both the beauty of its cultures and landscapes as well as the social and environmental pathologies that it continues to face.

The landscapes, peoples, and cultures that emerge in Rash's work represent and respond to not only Appalachia or the South, but also to national and global cultures. Firmly rooted in the mountain South, Rash's artistic vision weaves the truths of the human condition and the perils of the human heart in a poetic language that speaks deeply to us all. Through these essays, offering a range of critical and theoretical approaches that examine important aspects of Rash's work, Wilhelm and Vernon create a foundation for the future of Rash studies.

Robert Morgan, Kappa Alpha Professor of English at Cornell University and author of fourteen books of poetry and nine volumes of fiction including the New York Times bestselling novel Gap Creek, provides a foreword.


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Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 13 mars 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611178395
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,2650€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

SUMMONING THE DEAD
SUMMONING THE DEAD
Essays on Ron Rash
Edited by
RANDALL WILHELM and ZACKARY VERNON
Foreword by
ROBERT MORGAN

The University of South Carolina Press
2018 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press
Columbia, South Carolina 29208
www.sc.edu/uscpress
27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
can be found at http://catalog.loc.gov/
ISBN 978-1-61117-838-8 (cloth)
ISBN 978-1-61117-839-5 (ebook)
Bonding Fire
For Bob Cumming
A spark takes hold in a glen
in Scotland s midlands and burns
winter and summer, and when
hands tending that spark grow cold
passed on to daughter and son
fire passed hearth to hearth to fire
a bride s wedding night passion,
light an old man s corpse candle,
part heirloom, part talisman,
cradled and nursed like a child
in the ship s hold when the clan
sailed west to Charleston, then west
to east Tennessee, the first
carried by wagon, by hand,
huddled by when a panther
cried out at night and when night
turned slantland white when they came
into the Blue Ridge where they
raised their hearths over a flame
two centuries old, two more
passing until water came
to douse that valley, to douse
the hearth of one who remained
to tend that fire, who refused
to leave the valley until
that fire left with him, the truck s
windows left up lest wind still
the pail of sparks his lap held.
Ron Rash
CONTENTS
Foreword
Robert Morgan
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Hum of Resurrection-Raising Rash to Critical Light
RANDALL WILHELM AND ZACKARY VERNON
PART I: THE NATURAL WORLD
Strange Agrarianisms: Transmutations of I ll Take My Stand in James Dickey s Deliverance and Ron Rash s One Foot in Eden
ZACKARY VERNON
Like a dam broke open : Water and Narrative in Ron Rash s One Foot in Eden
FR D RIQUE SPILL
The Single Effect of Ron Rash s Environmental Vision
BRIAN RAILSBACK
Fierce Ghosts, Strange Shadows: Reading Ron Rash s Extinct and Endangered Species through Flannery O Connor
JIMMY DEAN SMITH
A comfort during a hard time : Food in Ron Rash s Poems, Short Stories, and Novels
ERICA ABRAMS LOCKLEAR
PART II: INTERTEXTUAL STREAMS
A boxed and stilled forever : Vision, Death, and Affect in the Work of Ron Rash
RANDALL WILHELM
Awake in their wide pasture : Formal Design in the Poems of Robert Morgan and Ron Rash
JESSE GRAVES
Ron Rash and Eudora Welty: Walking the Same Worn Path
MAE MILLER CLAXTON
The Christ-Abandoned Landscape of Rash s Nothing Gold Can Stay
MARTHA GREENE EADS
Beyond gender : Subversion and the Creation of Chaos in Serena and Macbeth
BARBARA BENNETT
Rash s Shakespearean Ecologies: Autopoietic and Allopoietic Remediations of Macbeth in Serena
TRIPTHI PILLAI AND DANIEL CROSS TURNER
PART III: WAR, MEMORY, VIOLENCE
The Civil War and Beyond in Appalachia: A Historiographical Essay
ADAM J. PRATT
I am haunted still : The Shelton Laurel Massacre in Ron Rash s Work
JOHN LANG
The Devil at the Bottom: Southern Honor Culture in the Novels of Ron Rash
EDWARD J. WHITELOCK
A Hun on the Loose: World War I and The Cove
THOMAS RVOLD BJERRE
Subalterns in the Hollers: Postcolonial Appalachia in Ron Rash s Serena and The World Made Straight
JAMES ERIC ENSLEY
Contributors
Index
FOREWORD
Robert Morgan
In the past three decades, there has been a surge of writing about southern Appalachia, its history, folklore, music, crafts, religion, and storytelling. Most outstanding has been the fiction and poetry written in and about the region. Beginning with Jim Wayne Miller s poetry and essays in the 1970s, Jeff Daniel Marion s magazine the Small Farm , and Lee Smith s novels, especially Oral History and Fair and Tender Ladies , this renaissance has included such outstanding works as Charles Frazier s Cold Mountain and Jayne Anne Phillips s Machine Dreams , and more recently the novels of Wiley Cash and the poetry of Rose McLarney and Jesse Graves. But no writer of the southern highlands has achieved greater recognition than Ron Rash, in his short stories, novels, and poetry. Rash s rise to prominence may seem sudden and meteoric to some, but in fact it has had a long foreground.
It seems that when a culture is fading, or is recently dead, it becomes available in a special way for treatment in fiction. Hawthorne s great novels and short stories are an excellent example, written, and read, just as the Industrial Revolution transformed the culture created by John Winthrop, the Mathers, Samuel Sewell, and others. There is certainly an element of nostalgia in this phenomenon, but also a drive, a need, almost an obsession, to understand the past, to bring alive a sense of who we were, and how we became who we are. The novels of Faulkner and other southern writers answered this desire in the twentieth century, portraying with intimacy and intensity a South going or gone, in all its contradictions and complexities. Nobody has addressed the contradictions and complexities of the rapidly evolving culture of the southern highlands more memorably than Ron Rash. His work encompasses both past and present, life in cotton-mill towns at the foot of the mountains, and in remote coves during the Civil War. The stories of his first book, The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth , are among the finest comic writing we have, taking their place alongside Fred Chappell s I Am One of You Forever . The poems of Rash s volume Waking evoke the lives of mountain people in firm, lyrical lines in a wide range of styles and forms. His later stories bring to life a culture wrenched painfully apart, almost beyond recognition, by deracination, meth, and other contemporary addictions. His best-known novel, Serena , tells the story of the robber barons destruction of the timber on the highest peaks a hundred years ago.
I first met Ron Rash about two decades ago, just before he began publishing his work. At that time he was teaching at Tri-County Technical Community College near Clemson, South Carolina. His workload was five or six courses each semester, many of them classes in English composition with large enrollments. It seemed impossible that anyone with such a teaching load could get his own writing done. But with persistence, discipline, patience, and extraordinary talent, Ron kept writing and sending out his work. His first novel won the Novello Prize in 2002, and he was invited to serve as visiting writer at Lenoir Rhyne University. Then he was appointed Parris Professor at Western Carolina University. His career is an example to any aspiring writer. I have often been asked if I have any advice for ambitious young writers, and my answer is one word, persistence. It has been thrilling to watch Ron grow as a writer and achieve such prominence. All along I have admired both the quality and the diversity of his work. Besides writing in many genres, he has written in many different voices and from many points of view, of textile towns and cove farms. My own hunch is that his best work is still to come.
Ron s first novel was called One Foot in Eden , a title borrowed from the Scottish poet Edwin Muir. The title suggests the way his work bridges and connects different worlds. Ron is the son of a college professor of art, but his summer vacations were spent with his grandparents on their farm in the mountains near Boone, North Carolina. There he acquired both a love and close knowledge of the woods and rural life. Both his parents worked in textile mills before they became teachers, and Ron s Eureka Mill is a classic portrait of life in a mill town, a culture now gone, as the industry has moved jobs abroad in the past few decades. Ron s work also bridges the gap between literary culture and popular culture, traditional music and country music, ballads and modernist poetry.
Since World War II life in the southern mountains has been transformed significantly. The peaks and valleys of the Cherokees wide hunting grounds, once settled by small subsistence farmers, are now accessible by superhighways. The Cherokees themselves manage prosperous casinos and other tourist industries. The waterfalls, mountain haze, and thrashing whitewater streams are still there, but the people have changed. Mountainsides are covered by expensive houses owned by retirees and summer inhabitants. Golf courses, resorts, nursing homes, condominiums, and malls fill the valleys. Asheville is so crowded it is almost impossible to find a parking place. Much farm and construction labor is done by Hispanic immigrants, and signs in stores are now often in Spanish. Community colleges dot the landscape. The majority of voters in elections are nonnative. It is this rapidly evolving world that Ron Rash also portrays definitively in much of his fiction. It is a special pleasure to celebrate Ron s achievement and to know that he belongs to us, and to this region, as well as to southern and American literature at large. This collection of essays indicates the impact his work has already made, and it is clear that his writing belongs to the future as well as the present.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We would like to thank the helpful and encouraging staff of the University of South Carolina Press, particularly Bill Adams, Jim Denton, Bob Ellis, Linda Fogle, and Jonathan Haupt, for their assistance and guidance in developing this collection. Special thanks to Ron Rash for his support of this project and h

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