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The Emergence of Mark Twain's Missouri: Regional Theory and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Emergence of Mark Twain's Missouri: Regional Theory and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Emergence of Mark Twain’s Missouri: Regional Theory and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Robert Jackson The contribution of regional criticism to studies of American literature and culture has been held back in our time by the assumption that the region enforces a very limiting provincialism upon its commu- nities and, thus, its literary products. Such an assumption has emerged, perhaps understandably, in a cultural context in which the question of what constitutes a more universally American identity dominates thought nearly to the point of obsession. And yet there is a persistent sense that the individual region in the United States remains, somehow, a crucial unit of culture. Considering this issue in the most general spatial and cul- tural senses, the critic W. H. New points out that the very question whether “authors can ever not be in space yields either absurd answers or openly political ones — political statements that constitute new defini- tions of the relation between spaces in a society” (14). Regarding litera- ture in particular, New writes: Defining the significance that particular spaces have for us, we par- enthetically define or at least hint at our preconceptions about the significance of statements that will emerge http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

The Emergence of Mark Twain's Missouri: Regional Theory and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

The Emergence of Mark Twain’s Missouri: Regional Theory and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Robert Jackson The contribution of regional criticism to studies of American literature and culture has been held back in our time by the assumption that the region enforces a very limiting provincialism upon its commu- nities and, thus, its literary products. Such an assumption has emerged, perhaps understandably, in a cultural context in which the question of what constitutes a more universally American identity dominates thought nearly to the point of obsession. And yet there is a persistent sense that the individual region in the United States remains, somehow, a crucial unit of culture. Considering this issue in the most general spatial and cul- tural senses, the critic W. H. New points out that the very question whether “authors can ever not be in space yields either absurd answers or openly political ones — political statements that constitute new defini- tions of the relation between spaces in a society” (14). Regarding litera- ture in particular, New writes: Defining the significance that particular spaces have for us, we par- enthetically define or at least hint at our preconceptions about the significance of statements that will emerge

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Mar 6, 2003

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