Distorted Traditions: the Use of the Grotesque in the Short Fiction of Eudora Welty, Carson Mccullers, Flannery O'connor, and Bobbie Ann Mason.

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This dissertation argues that the four writers named above use the grotesque to illustrate the increasingly peculiar consequences of the assault of modernity on traditional Southern culture. The basic conflict between the views of Bakhtin and Kayser provides the foundation for defining the grotesque herein, and Geoffrey Harpham's concept of "margins" helps to define interior and exterior areas for the discussion. Chapter 1 lays a foundation for why the South is different from other regions of America, emphasizing the influences of Anglo-Saxon culture and traditions brought to these shores by the English gentlemen who settled the earliest tidewater colonies as ... continued below

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Marion, Carol A.v August 2004.

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  • Marion, Carol A.

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This dissertation argues that the four writers named above use the grotesque to illustrate the increasingly peculiar consequences of the assault of modernity on traditional Southern culture. The basic conflict between the views of Bakhtin and Kayser provides the foundation for defining the grotesque herein, and Geoffrey Harpham's concept of "margins" helps to define interior and exterior areas for the discussion. Chapter 1 lays a foundation for why the South is different from other regions of America, emphasizing the influences of Anglo-Saxon culture and traditions brought to these shores by the English gentlemen who settled the earliest tidewater colonies as well as the later influx of Scots-Irish immigrants (the Celtic-Southern thesis) who settled the Piedmont and mountain regions. This chapter also notes that part of the South's peculiarity derives from the cultural conflicts inherent between these two groups. Chapters 2 through 5 analyze selected short fiction from each of these respective authors and offer readings that explain how the grotesque relates to the drastic social changes taking place over the half-century represented by these authors. Chapter 6 offers an evaluation of how and why such traditions might be preserved. The overall argument suggests that traditional Southern culture grows out of four foundations, i. e., devotion to one's community, devotion to one's family, devotion to God, and love of place. As increasing modernization and homogenization impact the South, these cultural foundations have been systematically replaced by unsatisfactory or confusing substitutes, thereby generating something arguably grotesque. Through this exchange, the grotesque has moved from the observably physical, as shown in the earlier works discussed, to something internalized that is ultimately depicted through a kind of intellectual if not physical stasis, as shown through the later works.

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  • August 2004

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  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:33 p.m.

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  • July 6, 2015, 2:11 p.m.

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Marion, Carol A.v. Distorted Traditions: the Use of the Grotesque in the Short Fiction of Eudora Welty, Carson Mccullers, Flannery O'connor, and Bobbie Ann Mason., dissertation, August 2004; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4591/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .