Saturday, November 24, 2007

Twenty-five Great Southern Novels

Twenty-five Great Southern Novels

The main problem with southern literature is the difficulty, some would say impossibility, of coming up with a precise definition. What follows isn’t a list of the “best” southern novels of all time. I’ll gladly leave that challenge to English majors, MFA students, and Ph.d candidates. This is just my subjective, personal, opinionated, ill-informed and no doubt biased list of twenty-five novels that are among the very best.

Also included--at no additional charge--you’ll find a list of three great southern short story writers.

Quibbles: Yes, I semi- cheated by listing the Snopes Trilogy for William Faulkner. Win a Nobel prize and I’ll include three of your best novels. (It was only “semi” because the novels were re-released as a single volume)

If not including Huckleberry Finn offends you, add it to your own list. I cogitated over that call but decided it was an American novel, not southern.

None of Erskine Caldwell’s best-selling novels are on my list because neither Tobacco Road nor God’s Little Acre are among the “best” works of southern literature.

Feel free to comment on, or just plain denounce, my lame list.
And now, appearing in no particular order, twenty-five of the best examples of southern literature.

Bayou Bill



To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

The Last Gentleman, Walker Percy

All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ernest Gaines

Other Voices, Other Rooms, Truman Capote

Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy

The Awakening, Kate Chopin

A Death in the Family, James Agee

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier

Deliverance, James Dickey

Leaving Cheyenne, Larry McMurtry

Suttree, Cormac McCarthy

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Allan Gurganus

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers

A Long and Happy Life, Reynolds Price

The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron

Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole

The Snopes Trilogy, William Faulkner

Look Homeward, Angel, Thomas Wolfe

The Optimist's Daughter, Eudora Welty

The Violent Bear It Away, Flannery O'Connor


A Curtain of Green, Eudora Welty

The Complete Stories, Flannery O’Connor

Uncle Remus Stories, Joel Chandler Harris

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Anonymous twizzle said...

The Awakening is my all-time favorite novel. Fantastic list, didn't disagree with a one.

8:54 AM  

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