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"Peeping Toms on History": Barry Hannah's Never Die as Postmodern Western

"Peeping Toms on History": Barry Hannah's Never Die as Postmodern Western Peeping Toms on History : Barry Hannah s Never Die as Postmodern Western by Mark S. Graybill In his thoughtful essay “Home by Way of California: The Southerner as the Last European,” Lewis P. Simpson explores what seem to him basic differences between the mind of the South and its western “other.” The latter, contends Simpson, has corollaries in the artistic vision of northeasterners — Henry David Thoreau, James Fenimore Cooper, and the “father” of the popular western, Owen Wister — who create fictions in which a hero transcends history amid the pristine, naturally democratic vistas of the American landscape. In contrast, the former extends a tragic European outlook that sees the individual as a creature trapped, the hapless victim of history. Simpson’s paradigm has been very influential in southern studies, and one can indeed see how the tragic ethos he identifies informs to grand effect the body of southern writing produced during the fabled Renascence, a literature acutely concerned with the past in the present (to paraphrase Allen Tate’s famous formula- tion) and the doomed yet heroic efforts to cope with or survive history, not escape it — reflected in Faulkner’s famous proclamation in the Nobel speech that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

"Peeping Toms on History": Barry Hannah's Never Die as Postmodern Western

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 33 (1) – Dec 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 Department of English of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Peeping Toms on History : Barry Hannah s Never Die as Postmodern Western by Mark S. Graybill In his thoughtful essay “Home by Way of California: The Southerner as the Last European,” Lewis P. Simpson explores what seem to him basic differences between the mind of the South and its western “other.” The latter, contends Simpson, has corollaries in the artistic vision of northeasterners — Henry David Thoreau, James Fenimore Cooper, and the “father” of the popular western, Owen Wister — who create fictions in which a hero transcends history amid the pristine, naturally democratic vistas of the American landscape. In contrast, the former extends a tragic European outlook that sees the individual as a creature trapped, the hapless victim of history. Simpson’s paradigm has been very influential in southern studies, and one can indeed see how the tragic ethos he identifies informs to grand effect the body of southern writing produced during the fabled Renascence, a literature acutely concerned with the past in the present (to paraphrase Allen Tate’s famous formula- tion) and the doomed yet heroic efforts to cope with or survive history, not escape it — reflected in Faulkner’s famous proclamation in the Nobel speech that

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Dec 1, 2001

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