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tute of Chicago; 6 June—25 September 2000, Clark Adanta University Art Galleries with the High Museum ofArt, Adanta, Georgia; 1 5 October—1 December 2000, North CaroUna Central University Art Museum with Duke University Art Museum and the Center for Documentary Studies, Durham, North CaroUna; 2 January—31 March 2001, Fisk University with Tennessee State Museum, NashviUe, Tennessee; 22 April—29 July 2001, the Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia, with the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia. Lee Smith, Annie Dillard, and the Hollins Group A Genesis ofWriters By Nancy C. Parrish Louisiana State University Press, 1998 234 pp. Cloth, $29.95 Reviewed by Amy Thompson McCandlese, professor of history at the College of Charleston and the author of The Pastin the Present Women's Higher Education in the Twentieth-CenturyAmerican South from the University ofAlabama Press, 1999. "It was Uke falling into a womb." In an interview with Nancy Parrish, this was how writer Lee Smith described her Uterary genesis, tracing it to Hollins CoUege, a smaU, women's Uberai arts school near Roanoke, Virginia. Parrish uses this maternal metaphor to examine the formative influences of the Hollins environment on the work of the "Hollins Group": writers Lee Smith, Annie Doak Dülard, Anne GoodwynJones, Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan, Jo Berson Buckley, Anne Bradford Warner, and Nancy Beckham Ferris, weU-known contemporary authors and scholars, each an alumna of the Hollins class of 1967. By focusing on the nature of the faculty, student body, and curriculum of the coUege in the 1960s, Parrish is able to explore the link between the Uterary development of this particular group ofwriters and regional conceptions ofwomanhood. Educational phüosophies and practices in the South have long been intertwined with antebeUum conceptions of gender, race, and class. EUte white women, Uke those who attended Hollins in the 1960s, were to be educated to be "ladies." Even at this smaU coUege the environment was paternalistic; in their academic as weU as in their social Uves, students were to be nurtured and protected. 76 southern cultures, Winter 1999 : Reviews Yet, for the HolUns Group, this atmosphere produced "a dynamic, creative, and safe place for young southern women to discover their identities and their voices," voices that were often critical oftraditional gender roles and relations. The faculty member most important to the development of the HolUns community ofwomen writers was Louis D. RubinJr. Rubin arrived at Hollins in 1957, and by 1960 he had estabUshed a creative writing program that included graduate and undergraduate students and a setting diat invited nationaUy renowned authors to the campus as writers-in-residence. Rubin's teaching and writing influenced both the subject matter and the style of his students and chaUenged diem to adopt die standards and practices of professionals. On the one hand, he advised them to "write about their own experiences in their own way." On the other, "he taught the rigorous, New Critical engagement that a reader and a writer must have with a text." Parrish defends Rubin against feminist critics who fault him for sUghting the works of women and blacks and instead emphasizes the opportunities he provided for "women's voices to be heard." Rubin not only encouraged his students to write for campus pubUcations (even purchasing a press in 1964 to print student and faculty works), but also helped diese women estabUsh contacts with professional pubUshers and included their writings in his own edited volumes. And after he left Hollins for the University ofNorth CaroUna in 1967, Rubin also supervised the doctoral dissertations ofAnne Goodwyn Jones and Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan. The mentoring ofLouis Rubin and other EngUsh faculty such asJuUa RandaU Sawyer and Richard H. W. DiUard was not the only factor that inspired and challenged the HolUns Group to Uterary exceUence. The women's community that nurtured their creativity was as much the product of student initiative as of faculty guidance. Annie Doak DiUard, Lee Smith, and many ofthe others who came to constitute the HolUns Group were drawn to the coUege because ofits writing program. Possessing high grades and test scores, they arrived on campus confident of their abüities. Rubin and the other EngUsh faculty reinforced this selfperception . Indeed, when the upper-class...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 76-78
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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