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Transatlantic Renaissances

Literature of Ireland and the American South

Kathryn Stelmach Artuso

The impulses that fired the Southern Literary Renaissance echoed the impetus behind the Irish Literary Revival at the turn of the twentieth century, when Ireland sought to demonstrate its cultural equality with any European nation and disentangle itself from English-imposed stereotypes. Seeking to prove that the South was indeed the cultural equal of greater America, despite the harsh realities of political defeat, economic scarcity, and racial strife, Southern writers embarked on a career to re-imagine the American South and to re-invent literary criticism.

Transatlantic Renaissances: Literature of Ireland and the American South traces the influence of the Irish Revival upon the Southern Renaissance, exploring how the latter looked to the former for guidance, artistic innovation, and models for self-invention and regional renovation.While Deleuze and Guattari’s model for minor literature refers to minority or regional authors who work within a major language for purposes of subversion, Artuso modifies their term along generic and thematic lines to refer to errant female juveniles within subsidiary genres whose nonconformist development threatens to disrupt the dominant patriarchal culture of a region or nation. Using the themes of initiation and maturation to anchor the book, Artuso analyzes how the volatile development of young women in revivalist texts often reflects or questions larger growth pangs and patterns, including the evolution of the literary revival itself and the development of a regional minority group that must work within a dominant culture, language, and nation while seeking methods of subversion. With minor literature as the container for undervalued genres such as popular fiction and short stories—often considered an author’s juvenilia—this work investigates not only how these texts challenge the authoritative claims of the novel, but also scrutinizes the renaissance trope of female rebirth, as the revivalists often figured cultural, national, or regional regeneration through the metamorphoses or maturation of female protagonists such as Cathleen ní Houlihan, Scarlett O’Hara, and Virgie Rainey. Drawing upon New Historical, New Critical, and postcolonial approaches, Artuso examines works by Lady Gregory, Margaret Mitchell, Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Bowen, Jean Toomer, and James Joyce.

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University Press Copublishing Division / University of Delaware Press
Pages: 206Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-1-61149-434-1 • Hardback • December 2012 • $74.00 • (£49.95)
978-1-61149-567-6 • Paperback • February 2015 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
978-1-61149-435-8 • eBook • December 2012 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
Kathryn Stelmach Artuso is an assistant professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

Chapter One: Minor Literature Comes of Age: A Survey of the Irish Revival and Southern Renaissance
Chapter Two: Transatlantic Tara: Irish Maternalism and Motherland in Gone with the Wind
Chapter Three:“A Child of this Century”: Rites of Passage in the Friendship and Fiction of Eudora Welty and Elizabeth Bowen
Chapter Four: Anglo-Irish Revivals: Doubling and Defamiliarization in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day and The House in Paris
Chapter Five: Black Madonnas and Irish Muses: Odysseys with the Harlem Renaissance
About the Author
While Artuso is clearly well-versed in the literature and criticism of both Ireland and the South, her most rewarding discussions emphasize the Irish presence and influence in the US. Artuso’s writing is sharp and enjoyable, and her pairings of subjects, texts, and authors work in unexpected and interesting ways. In the end, Artuso thoughtfully claims that 'the advent of interest in diasporic, postcolonial, and transatlantic studies holds exciting promise for the future of transnationalism, a movement which continually reminds us that a desire for ‘world culture’ is not nostalgic but nascent, not dying but already reborn'. Ultimately, readers are left with a satisfying yet open-ended introduction to the intricate relationship between seemingly unrelated cultures and this introduction invites continued exploration.
Eudora Welty Review

Artuso covers an incredible amount of ground in framing her argument. . . .Artuso’s text is a valuable addition to the diverse and growing body of critical work in transnational southern studies, not only for its careful excavation of the shared origins of the Irish and Southern Renaissances but in its gesturing toward the work still to be done in exploring routes of cultural exchange between locations and movements too often considered in isolation.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online