New Studies of Welty, Race and Faulkner from LSU Press

01/16/2015 03:09 PM

BATON ROUGE – This month, LSU Press published three incisive works of literary criticism that bring new disciplines to bear on the study of Southern writing.

From her first published story to her last novel, “The Optimist’s Daughter,” Eudora Welty wrote realistically about the shadows and radiance of love. In a meticulous exploration of this theme, “A Dark Rose” combines new readings of Welty’s fiction with contextual information and background drawn from a 19-year friendship with Welty. A common image in much of Welty’s fiction, the rose has traditionally symbolized love in literature. Sally Wolff argues that the dark rose – from the height of its brilliance to the end of its life – serves as an apt metaphor for the dichotomies Welty presents, equally suggestive of beauty and sadness, as well as the comic, tragic, and mysterious qualities of love.

Wolff is senior editor at the Emory Clinic and teaches “Literature and Medicine” in the Emory University School of Medicine. She is the author of “Ledgers of History: William Faulkner, an Almost Forgotten Friendship, and an Antebellum Plantation Diary” and “Talking about William Faulkner.”

The invocation of blood – as both an image and a concept – has long been critical in the formation of American racism. In “Blood Work,” Shawn Salvant mines works from the American literary canon to explore the multitude of associations that race and blood held in the consciousness of late 19th- and early 20th-century Americans. Drawing upon race and metaphor theory, Salvant provides readings of four classic novels featuring themes of racial identity: Mark Twain’s “Pudd’nhead Wilson”; Pauline Hopkins’s “Of One Blood”; Frances Harper’s “Iola Leroy”; and William Faulkner’s “Light in August.” Penetrating and insightful, the book illuminates the broad-ranging power of the blood metaphor to script distinctly American plots – real and literary – of racial identity.

Salvant is assistant professor of English and African American studies at the University of Connecticut. Born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, he received his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

From the emerging field of disability studies, “Faulkner, Writer of Disability” is the first book-length consideration of impairment in William Faulkner’s life and writing. Blending biography, textual analysis and theory in an experimental style, Taylor Hagood explores in both form and content the constructs of normality and their power. By framing each section of his study within a different kind of discourse – newspaper style, biography, email and advertisement – Hagood uses the very structure of the book to underscore the questions of normalcy prevalent in disability studies. This rich and unconventional study offers insight into a Faulkner haunted by experiences of disablement and compelled to narrate them in his own writing.

Hagood is associate professor of American literature at Florida Atlantic University and the author of “Faulkner’s Imperialism: Space, Place, and the Materiality of Myth and Secrecy, Magic, and the One-Act Plays of Harlem Renaissance Women Playwrights.”


To request review copies or set up author interviews, please contact Jenny Keegan at or visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Friday, January 16, 2015