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From lowcountry writer William Baldwin comes a new edition of his 1993 Lillian Smith Award–winning novel, The Hard to Catch Mercy. Including a new introduction by the author, this Southern Revivals edition makes available once more a story that touches on the issues of religion, race, and coming-of-age in the post–Civil War South, when the lines between these issues were not always clear. Set in fictional Cedar Point, a small southern community in the early 1900s, The Hard to Catch Mercy is told through the eyes of a young boy, Willie T., who is forced to confront the changing world around him. Including a cast of incredibly outlandish characters, Baldwin’s novel is a wild, darkly comic tale rich with trick mules, Christian voodoo, fire, brimstone, first love, death, and the end of the world as Willie T. knows it.
Where Ghosts Still Roam
This collection features such stories as "Passenger Train Number 9"; "The Little People"; "The Phantom Rider of the Confederacy"; "The Demon of Wizard Clip"; "Room for One More"; "Tavern of Terror"; "The Surrency Ghost"; "The King's Messengers"; "The Haunted Gold Mine"; "The Singing River"; "The Gray Lady"; "Railroad Bill"; and "The Haunted Car".
Understanding the Biblical Archetype of Patience
The question that launches Job’s story is posed by God at the outset of the story: “Have you considered my servant Job?” (1:8; 2:3). By any estimation the answer to this question must be yes. The forty-two chapters that form the biblical story have in fact opened the story to an ongoing practice of reading and rereading, evaluating and reevaluating. Early Greek and Jewish translators emphasized some aspects of the story and omitted others; the Church Fathers interpreted Job as a forerunner of Christ, while medieval Jewish commentators debated conservative and liberal interpretations of God’s providential love. Artists, beginning at least in the Greco-Roman period, painted and sculpted their own interpretations of Job. Novelists, playwrights, poets, and musicians—religious and irreligious, from virtually all points of the globe—have added their own distinctive readings. In Have You Considered My Servant Job?, Samuel E. Balentine examines this rich and varied history of interpretation by focusing on the principal characters in the story—Job, God, the satan figure, Job’s wife, and Job’s friends. Each chapter begins with a concise analysis of the biblical description of these characters, then explores how subsequent readers have expanded or reduced the story, shifted its major emphases or retained them, read the story as history or as fiction, and applied the morals of the story to the present or dismissed them as irrelevant. Each new generation of readers is shaped by different historical, cultural, and political contexts, which in turn require new interpretations of an old yet continually mesmerizing story. Voltaire read Job one way in the eighteenth century, Herman Melville a different way in the nineteenth century. Goethe’s reading of the satan figure in Faust is not the same as Chaucer’s in The Canterbury Tales, and neither is fully consonant with the Testament of Job or the Qur’an. One need only compare the descriptions of God in the biblical account with the imaginative renderings by Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, and Franz Kafka to see that the effort to understand why God afflicts Job “for no reason” (2:3) continues to be both compelling and endlessly complicated.
A Mountain Brook Novel
The Headmaster's Darlings is a satirical comedy of manners featuring the morbidly obese Norman Laney, an unorthodox, inspirational English teacher and college counselor for an elite private school in Mountain Brook, a privileged community outside of Birmingham. A natural wonder from blue-collar Alabama, Laney has barged into the exclusive world of Mountain Brook on the strength of his sensational figure and its several-hundred-pound commitment to art and culture. His mission is to defeat "the barbarians," introduce true civilization in place of its thin veneer, and change his southern world for the better. Although Laney is adored by his students (his "darlings") and by the society ladies (also his "darlings") who rely on him to be the life of their parties and the leader of their book clubs, there are others who think he is a larger-than-life menace to the comfortable status quo of Mountain Brook society and must be banished. When Laney is summoned to the principal's office one day in November 1983, he expects to be congratulated for a recent public-relations triumph he engineered on behalf of the school. Instead his letter of resignation is demanded with no explanation given. Faced with an ultimatum and his imminent dismissal, Laney must outflank the principal at his own underhanded game, find out who said what about him and why, and launch his current crop of Alabama students into the wider world--or at least into Ivy League colleges. In her debut novel, Katherine Clark casts a comical eye on southern society and celebrates the power of great teachers and schools to transform the lives of young people and lift up their communities. Surrounded by a colorful cast of his colleagues, his young protégés and Mountain Brook's upper echelon, Laney emerges as a heroically idiosyncratic character with Falstaffian appetites, an inimitable wit and intellect, and a boundless generosity toward his students that reshapes their lives in profound, unexpected ways.
A Memoir of the South Carolina Coast
Born in 1928 in the small coastal town of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, Genevieve “Sister” Peterkin grew up with World War II bombing practice in her front yard, deep-sea fishing expeditions, and youthful rambles through the lowcountry. She shared her bedroom with a famous ghost and an impatient older sister. But most of all she listened. She absorbed the tales of her talented mother and her beloved friend, listened to the stories of the region’s older residents, some of them former slaves, who were her friends, neighbors, and teachers. In this new edition she once again shares with readers her insider’s knowledge of the lowcountry plantations, gardens, and beaches that today draw so many visitors. Beneath the humor, hauntings, and treasures of local history, she tells another, deeper story—one that deals with the struggle for racial equality in the South, with the sometimes painful adventures of marriage and parenthood, and with inner struggles for faith and acceptance. This edition includes a new foreword by coastal writer and researcher Lee G. Brockington and a new afterword by coauthor and lowcountry novelist William P. Baldwin.
Innovations, Transformations, Reconsiderations
Hindu Ritual at the Margins explores Hindu forms of ritual activity in a variety of “marginal” contexts. The contributors collectively examine ritual practices in diaspora; across gender, ethnic, social, and political groups; in film, text, and art; in settings where ritual itself or direct discussion of ritual is absent; in contexts that create new opportunities for traditionally marginalized participants or challenge the received tradition; and via theoretical perspectives that have been undervalued in the academy. In the first of three sections, contributors explore the ways in which Hindu ritual performed in Indian contexts intersects with historical, contextual, and social change. They examine the changing significance and understanding of particular deities, the identity and agency of ritual actors, and the instrumentality of ritual in new media. Essays in the second section examine ritual practices outside of India, focusing on evolving ritual claims to authority in mixed cultures (such as Malaysia), the reshaping of gender dynamics of ritual at an American temple, and the democratic reshaping of ritual forms in Canadian Hindu communities. The final section considers the implications for ritual studies of the efficacy of bodily acts divorced from intention, contemporary spiritual practice as opposed to religious-bound ritual, and the notion of dharma. Based on a conference on Hindu ritual held in 2006 at the University of Pittsburgh, Hindu Ritual at the Margins seeks to elucidate the ways ritual actors come to shape ritual practices or conceptions pertaining to ritual and how studying ritual in marginal contexts—at points of dynamic tension—requires scholars to reshape their understanding of ritual activity.
Selected by 2011 National Book Award winner Nikky Finney as the seventh annual winner of the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize, Hold Like Owls is the first book-length collection from Julia Koets. Full of imagery deeply embedded in memories of growing up in the American South, Koets explores what it means to hold—to carry memories—and what to hold onto and what to let go. Birds turn into paper, a voice fits inside a chestnut shell, and moths eat stars through a woolen sky as the collection evokes nuance within the ordinary, reframes childhood memory, and engages the themes of the night, sensuality, and desire. Whether questioning personal histories, language, sexual identity, or love, the collection honors the "gentle corners of the night" that allow for questioning and uncertainty to exist.
DéLana R. A. Dameron searches for answers to spiritual quandaries in her first collection of poems, How God Ends Us, selected by Elizabeth Alexander as the fourth annual winner of the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize. Dameron's poetry forms a lyrical conversation with an ominous and omnipotent deity, one who controls all matters of the living earth, including death and destruction. The poet's acknowledgement of the breadth of this power under divine jurisdiction moves her by turns to anger, grief, celebration, and even joy. From personal to collective to imagined histories, Dameron's poems explore essential, perennial questions emblemized by natural disasters, family struggles, racism, and the experiences of travel abroad. Though she reaches for conclusions that cannot be unveiled, her investigations exhibit the creative act of poetry as a source of consolation and resolution.
South Carolina Slave Narratives
Out of the hundreds of published slave narratives,only a handful exist specific to South Carolina, and most of these are not readily available to modern readers. Edited by Susanna Ashton, this collection restores to print seven slave narratives documenting the lived realities of slavery as it existed across the Palmetto State's upcountry, midlands, and lowcountry, from plantation culture to urban servitude. First published between the late eighteenth century and the dawn of the twentieth, these richly detailed firsthand accounts present a representative cross section of slave experiences, from religious awakenings and artisan apprenticeships to sexual exploitations and harrowing escapes. In their distinctive individual voices, narrators celebrate and mourn the lives of fellow slaves, contemplate the meaning of freedom, and share insights into the social patterns and cultural controls exercised during a turbulent period in American history. Each narrative is preceded by an introduction to place its content and publication history in historical context. The volume also features an afterword surveying other significant slave narratives and related historical documents on South Carolina. I Belong to South Carolina reinserts a chorus of powerful voices of the dispossessed into South Carolina's public history, reminding us of the cruelties of the past and the need for vigilant guardianship of liberty in the present and future.
John Andrew Rice’s autobiography, first published to critical acclaim in 1942, is a remarkable tour through late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America. When the book was suppressed by the publisher soon after its appearance because of legal threats by a college president described in the book, the nation lost a rich first-person historical account of race and class relations during a critical period—not only during the days of Rice’s youth, but at the dawn of the civil rights movement. I Came Out of the Eighteenth Century begins with Rice’s childhood on a South Carolina plantation during the post-Reconstruction era. Later Rice moved to Great Britain when he won a Rhodes scholarship, then to the University of Nebraska to accept a professorship. In 1933 he founded Black Mountain College, a legendary progressive college in North Carolina that uniquely combined creative arts, liberal education, self-government, and a work program. Rice’s observations of social and working conditions in the Jim Crow South, his chronicle of his own fading southern aristocratic family, including its famous politicians, and his acerbic portraits of education bureaucrats are memorable and make this book a resource for scholars and a pleasure for lay readers. Historical facts are leavened with wit and insight; black-white relations are recounted with relentless and unsentimental discernment. Rice combines a sociologist’s eye with a dramatist’s flair in a unique voice. This Southern Classics edition includes a new introduction by Mark Bauerlein and an afterword by Rice’s grandson William Craig Rice, exposing a new generation of readers to John Andrew Rice’s incisive commentaries on the American South before the 1960s and to the work of a powerful prose stylist.