Appalachian Literature: What is Known and What is True | Osher Lifelong Learning Institute


appalachian literature

Best Books Set in Appalachia If you aren't sure what area makes up Appalachia, check out this Wikipedia map. All South Carolina is not typically considered Appalachian, but southern coastal." However, if it takes place in the Appalachian Mountains, it is Appalachian. Just as Va, NC, Maryland, Ky, Ga, AL and TN all have areas outside of the. We will look at the evolution of Appalachian literature through texts written between and the present to understand how a variety of authors have allowed us to look at Appalachia and also to see the world through the eyes of Appalachians. The belated discovery of an Appalachian literature, then, would seem to rest on solid and fertile ground. For others, however, the mere juxtaposition of the words Appalachian and literature is a disturbing contradiction in terms.

Best Books Set in Appalachia ( books)

I first compiled this list in July of in order to address the frequent number of requests I receive for a list of books that might help readers better appalachian literature Appalachia. This is meant to be a short list of essential reading for those who want to understand the region's major problems and various approaches to solving them.

This revision is necessary because of the publishing of two exceptional new books and because, as always, as our understandings of our region evolve, appalachian literature, so to do our interactions with the literature. The original version included both fiction and nonfiction, and here, I have separated the two genres.

This version of the list has a bolstered fiction section. I have tried to offer here a balanced list that reveals the complexities of Appalachia and challenges efforts to stereotype the region or paint it with too broad a brush.

Some of these books are more scholarly than others, and some are enjoyable reads while others are not, appalachian literature. Many of the books on the appalachian literature were meant for academic rather than general audiences, but I believe there is much to be learned here for people of any educational background or profession.

I tell my students every semester that I do not care whether or not they like the books I assign, appalachian literature. If we all chose to read only those things that we enjoy, we would rarely be challenged or gain new knowledge. I believe each of these books, in its own way, is worth the investment of your time, even if they are not wonderful reads, and especially if the subject matter makes you angry or emotional.

I would like to offer a special bit of gratitude to those who have emailed me in since the list was originally published to offer suggestions, additions, and critiques. At last count, over people have chimed in to help me shape the list moving forward. I am certain that the future will hold a 3. Also, know that it is impossible to include every book I would like, and know that there are always books I have either forgotten or never read that are also worthy of inclusion here.

This is, in many ways, a response to Hillbilly Elegy. Appalachian literature offers incredibly important social and historical context for those seeking to better-understand Appalachian literature. She rejects Appalachian stereotypes by focusing on literature, appalachian literature, art, and political action that is organic to Appalachia, carried our BY Appalachian people, not FOR them.

This book offers a much-needed native perspective for the ongoing national conversation about Appalachia. Another appalachian literature book, Stoll's work traces the history of Appalachia back to the region's earliest European settlers, appalachian literature. Focusing largely on the evolution of Appalachia's homesteads, Stoll notes that even the earliest white settlers in the region were confounded by absentee ownership.

I first became aware of Stoll's work in graduate school when I read another of his works for a Rural and Agricultural History seminar. He brings his important perspective as an historian of agriculture to the study of Appalachia. This book offers an important and largely missing piece of historical context to the literature.

Hillbilly Elegyby J. Nonetheless, appalachian literature, this book is mandatory reading. Even if you disagree with some of Vance's conclusions, as I appalachian literature, this book has done more than any other in two appalachian literature to draw Appalachia into the national spotlight and start important conversations about the plight of the region's people.

Night Comes to the Cumberlandsby Harry Caudill. Later in life, he went a bit off the rails, but that's irrelevant. JFK read it, appalachian literature.

LBJ read it. You should read it, too. Eller's offers an important look at the history of development in Appalachia, framing the region's story as a sort of forebear of what the nation as a whole was becoming. If you are interested in industrial development in the region, this is the book for you.

Eller, who retired in recent years after a career in the History Department at the University of Kentucky, is one of the deans of Appalachian history. His voice and his work are informed by years spent studying and teaching about the region. This is a scholarly book, but don't let that dissuade you.

Salvation on Sand Mountainby Dennis Covington. If you do not know about the Signs-Following Christians of Appalachia, who handle poisonous serpents as genuine expressions of their faith, you should. Covington spent a great deal of time with the Signs-Followers, eventually taking up the serpents himself before leaving the tradition behind.

This book details his experiences. Some have criticized him for his methods, but this first-person account is a compelling look at an often misunderstood group of Christians in Appalachia. It is important in part because it is an example of the non-monolithic nature of Appalachian culture and religion.

Creating the Land of the Skyby Richard Starnes, appalachian literature. Often, tourism is but an afterthought in analyses of Appalachian economy. Because of the tremendous success of tourism around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, people often disassociate the area with Appalachia.

Starnes argues that WNC benefitted from a sort of inverse of the white trash stereotype. Because local color writers and others romanticized the region, appalachian literature, tourists began visiting, setting WNC on a different path than many of the other parts of Appalachia. The Road to Povertyby Billings and Blee.

A local study, this book offers an in-depth look at Clay County, Kentucky, a place that remains one of the poorest in the United Appalachian literature. Billings and Blee are sociologists and take a social-sciences-based approach.

At its core, this book reveals the ways political leaders tend to treat the symptoms of poverty rather than address the deep systemic issues that are the root appalachian literature. This is one you might be able to find at a college or university library, though, particularly if you are in Appalachia. Oral histories are becoming increasingly popular and important. This book is a collection of oral histories that allow over Harlan County residents to tell their stories in their own words.

The town and county of the same name was the site of two violent strikes, first in the s and again in the s. If you are looking to read Appalachian stories from the people themselves, this is a wonderful resource. This is a cultural history, a field of historical inquiry that is often unfamiliar to the non-historian and which often vexes those historians who do not specialize in the field.

In this is a fascinating book, Harkins traces the history of the hillbilly through popular culture and argues that appalachian literature imagine of the hillbilly played an important role in constructing the image of whiteness in the twentieth century. I appalachian literature to read appalachian literature book in graduate school, and I hated it, but I assign it myself now, because it's an important read.

Bloodletting in Appalachiaby Howard Lee. This book, first published inis in many ways as much a primary source as a secondary source. Lee appalachian literature as Attorney General of West Virginia in the s and s, so he experienced firsthand much of what he writes about. Lee describes, in quite candid terms, the ethically-bankrupt politics that appalachian literature in WV when coal operators were able to buy politicians and justice during the first half of the twentieth century, appalachian literature.

If you want to understand the mine wars of that era, and appalachian literature corrupt politics that still exist as a result, this book is a great place to start. Matewan Appalachian literature the Massacreby Rebecca Bailey. It offers the historical context, stretching back to the end of the Civil War, appalachian literature, to describe the events depicted in the film. The book helps contextualize the movie appalachian literature helps readers to understand the complicated events that led to the massacre.

Those interested in local history will enjoy this book as will those seeking to have a more full and nuanced version of the history than is offered by the film. He documented his travels both in written form and by drawing, recording information about appalachian literature plants, appalachian literature, animals, and people he encountered along the way. Our Southern Highlandersby Horace Kephart. I have a love-hate relationship with Kephart.

On the one hand, his advocacy for what would become the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the primary reasons so many of the important landscapes dear to me are preserved forever.

On the other hand, he tended to be condescending toward the locals he encountered when he arrived in Western North Carolina to find his "back of beyond.

I dismissed Kephart as a condescending and elitist asshole for most of my life. My opinions of him have since become a bit more nuanced, appalachian literature.

I can never decide if this book is appalachian literature placed on this list or on my poverty reading list.

Really, it belongs both places. This is mandatory reading for anyone seeking to understand class in the United States, and it is particularly useful to those seeking a more nuanced understanding of class in Appalachia.

I made an embarrassing and egregious omission from the original version of this list by not including a book about the Cherokee. This is particularly terrible given that I live two miles from the Qualla Boundary and studied the language for two years as an undergrad.

Appalachia has always been a tri-racial society, appalachian literature, despite stereotypes that indicate that Appalachia is all white, appalachian literature. This book traces the history of the group of Cherokees who remained behind in Western North Carolina when the tribe was forcibly removed to Oklahoma via the Trail of Tears.

A note appalachian literature fiction: There are hundreds of wonderful works of fiction set in Appalachia, and I strongly recommend that people dive deeply into the literature, appalachian literature. What I hope to offer here is a broad summary of some of the most popular works of fiction by Appalachian authors. Joy is one of the most important writers in Appalachia right now, appalachian literature. His first two novels are life-changing, and if you haven't read them, you need to.

I am already excited to read his next novel when it comes out. He doesn't hold anything back. Joy does a better job than anyone else I've ever read of humanizing the poorest and most outcast members of Appalachian society.

Serenaby Ron Rash. This is one of my favorite novels set in Appalachia. As literature, appalachian literature, it is incredibly beautiful. It is poetic, even. Rash puts the same kind of effort into research that appalachian literature historians do. I am admittedly a huge fan of Rash's work, and I have every one of his appalachian literature. This remains one of my favorite Appalachian novels.

Cash does a laudable job weaving the religious, social, and economic contexts of Appalachia into a story that is both thrilling and moving. In the opening scene of the novel, a copperhead sinks its fangs into the arm of an elderly church member who took the snake up as a sign of her faith.


Appalachia - Wikipedia


appalachian literature


The belated discovery of an Appalachian literature, then, would seem to rest on solid and fertile ground. For others, however, the mere juxtaposition of the words Appalachian and literature is a disturbing contradiction in terms. Welcome to Appalachian Literature Welcome! We'll be reading a variety of texts from Appalachia and studying the culture that produced them at the same time. Writing can't exist independently of culture, and, I believe, a culture can't long exist without its writings. Course outline. Books shelved as appalachian-literature: Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith, Serena by Ron Rash, Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier, Gap Creek by Robert.