Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Peter Kuryla

Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

William Eggleston’s photographs illuminate Southern spaces in surprising ways

The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston, collects 55 of the artist’s works from the 1960s through the 1980s. Primarily everyday scenes from the South during a transitional period in the region’s history, Eggleston’s photographs make the ordinary extraordinary or even dreamlike, capturing time and place but not without significant historical allusions.

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Revisiting the Movement

Robert Penn Warren’s 1964 interviews with civil-rights activists get an updated look

With Free All Along: The Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Interviews, editors Stephen Drury Smith and Catherine Ellis encourage a new community of readers to revisit the ideas and experiences of civil-rights activists and thinkers during the movement’s height.

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Black in Appalachia

Karida Brown explores the way ideas of home have shaped an oft-overlooked population

In Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia, Karida L. Brown recovers the remarkable story of how black Appalachians defined themselves and their home in the coal-mining towns of Kentucky during the broad middle of the twentieth century. Brown will appear at the 2018 Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 12-14.

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Love and Theft

Exploring the idea of an American national literature, Jason Richards finds a complex play of imitations

In Imitation Nation: Red, White, and Blackface in Early and Antebellum US Literature, Rhodes College professor Jason Richards brings theoretical sophistication to close readings of some well-known and not so well-known texts in American literature, showing the complexities of cultural imitation before the Civil War.

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Faith and Serpents

Julia C. Duin turns up a sordid tale at the fringes of American religion

With ln the House of the Serpent Handler Julia C. Duin depicts the lives of the faithful in Appalachian serpent-handling churches, charting the tragic fall of one its leading lights.

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Confounding Brilliance

Scholars ponder Let Us Now Praise Famous Men on its seventy-fifth anniversary

In Let Us Now Praise Famous Men at 75, a transatlantic group of scholars reconsiders James Agee’s classic Depression-era account of three Alabama sharecropping families and the problem of representing them in words and images.

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