by Jean Carol Griffith
University of Alabama Press, 2009
Cloth: 978-0-8173-1661-7 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-8239-1
Library of Congress Classification PS151.G8 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 810.99287

An exciting addition to the ongoing debate about the place of regionalism in American literary history.

American regionalism has become a contested subject in literary studies alongside the ubiquitous triad of race, class, and gender. The Color of Democracy in Women's Regional Writing enters into the heart of an ongoing debate in the field about the significance of regional fiction at the end of the 19th century. Jean Griffith presents the innovative view that regional writing provided Edith Wharton, Ellen Glasgow, and Willa Cather with the means to explore social transformation in a form of fiction already closely associated with women readers and writers.

Griffith provides new readings of texts by these authors; she places them alongside the works of their contemporaries, including William Faulkner and Langston Hughes, to show regionalism's responses to the debate over who was capable of democratic participation and reading regionalism's changing mediations between natives and strangers as reflections of the changing face of democracy.

This insightful work enriches the current debate about whether regionalism critiques hierarchies or participates in nationalist and racist agendas and will be of great interest to those invested in regional writing or the works of these significant authors.