Superfluous Southerners: Cultural Conservatism and the South, 1920-1990

Superfluous Southerners: Cultural Conservatism and the South, 1920-1990

John J. Langdale III


In Superfluous Southerners, John J. Langdale III tells the tale of traditionalist conservatism and its obstacles in twentieth-century the US. simply because this period of time encompasses either the increase of the fashionable conservative circulation and the loss of life of southern local area of expertise, it provides a fantastic environment either for staring at the potentiality of yank conservatism and for figuring out the destiny of the traditionalist "man of letters." Langdale makes use of the highbrow and literary histories of John Crowe Ransom, Donald Davidson, and Allen Tate--the 3 relevant members to the Agrarian manifesto I'll Take My Stand--and in their 3 such a lot impressive highbrow descendants--Cleanth Brooks, Richard Weaver, and Melvin Bradford--to discover those issues.
Langdale starts his research with a few observations at the nature of yankee exceptionalism and the intrinsic boundaries which it provides to the traditionalist conservative mind's eye. whereas works like Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club have traced the origins of recent pragmatic liberalism in the course of the overdue 19th century, the character of conservative proposal in postbellum the US is still much less thoroughly understood. therefore, Langdale considers the origins of the recent Humanism flow on the flip of the 20th century, then turning to the way during which midwesterners Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer Moore stirred the mind's eye of the southern Agrarians in the course of the 1920s.
After the e-book of I'll Take My Stand in 1930, Agrarianism splintered into 3 unique modes of traditionalist conservatism: John Crowe Ransom sought safe haven in literary feedback, Donald Davidson in sectionalism, and Allen Tate in a picture of the religious-wayfarer as a custodian of language. Langdale strains the growth of those modes of traditionalism through succeeding generations of southerners. Following global battle II, Cleanth Brooks additional sophisticated the culture of literary feedback, whereas Richard Weaver elaborated the culture of sectionalism. despite the fact that, either Brooks and Weaver distinctively furthered Tate's thought that the integrity of language remained the elemental predicament of traditionalist conservatism.
Langdale concludes his examine with a attention of neoconservative competition to M.E. Bradford's proposed 1980 nomination as head of the nationwide Endowment for the arts and its importance for the southern guy of letters in what used to be changing into postmodern and postsouthern the USA. notwithstanding the post-World warfare II ascendance of neoconservatism enormously altered American highbrow background, the descendants of traditionalism remained mostly superfluous to this purportedly conservative revival which had way more in universal with pragmatic liberalism than with normative conservatism.

Show sample text content

Download sample