Southern Gothic  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Southern Gothic is a subgenre of gothic fiction unique to American literature that takes place exclusively in the American South. It resembles its parent genre in that it relies on supernatural, ironic, or unusual events to guide the plot. It is unlike its parent genre in that it uses these tools not solely for the sake of suspense, but to explore social issues and reveal the cultural character of the American South.

The southern gothic style is one that employs the use of macabre, ironic events to examine the values of the American south.

Southern Gothic is the genre most frequently identified with grotesques and William Faulkner is often cited as the ringmaster. Flannery O'Connor wrote, "Whenever I'm asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one" ("Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction," 1960). In her often-anthologized short story "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," the Misfit, a serial killer, is clearly a maimed soul, utterly callous to human life but driven to seek the truth. The less obvious grotesque is the polite, doting grandmother who is unaware of her own astonishing selfishness. Another oft-cited example of 'The Grotesque' from O'Connor's work is her short story entitled "A Temple Of The Holy Ghost."


Notable works


1929 Sartoris & The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

1930 As I Lay Dying & "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

1931 Sanctuary by William Faulkner

1932 Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

1933 God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell

1935 Pylon & "Uncle Willy" by William Faulkner

1936 Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

1937 You Have Seen Their Faces by Erskine Caldwell & Margaret Bourke White

1938 The Unvanquished by William Faulkner

1940 The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

1941 Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers

1942 Go Down, Moses & "Two Soldiers" by William Faulkner

1943 "Shingles for the Lord" by William Faulkner

1944 The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

1946 The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers

1947 A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (Pulitzer Prize award)

1948 Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote

1951 The Ballad of the Sad Café by Carson McCullers

1952 Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

1953 The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb

1955 A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O'Connor

1957 Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams

1958 Suddenly, Last Summer by Tennessee Williams

1959 The Mansion by William Faulkner

1960 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Pulitzer Prize Award)

1962 The Reivers by William Faulkner (Pulitzer Prize award)

1965 The Orchard Keeper by Cormac McCarthy

1968 Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy

1969 Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O'Connor

1970 Deliverance by James Dickey

1972 Geronimo Rex by Barry Hannah

1979 Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

1978 Lancelot by Walker Percy

1980 A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (Pulitzer Prize award)

  • Ray by Barry Hannah

1985 Locked In Time by Lois Duncan

1983 Welcome to the Arrow-Catcher Fair by Lewis Nordan

1987 Beloved by Toni Morrison (Pulitzer Prize award)

1989 And the Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave

1992 Joe by Larry Brown

1993 The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

1994 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

1995 The Sharpshooter Blues by Lewis Nordan

1996 The Green Mile by Stephen King

1998 A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews

1999 The Long Home by William Gay

2000 Tideland by Mitch Cullin

2001 Yonder Stands Your Orphan by Barry Hannah

2002 The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

2003 The Choir of Ill Children by Tom Piccirilli

2004 Sunset and Sawdust by Joe R. Lansdale

2005 Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest

2006 Wings to the Kingdom by Cherie Priest

2007 Not Flesh 'Nor Feathers & Dreadful Skin by Cherie Preist

2008 Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume

2009 Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

2010 Purple Jesus by Ron Cooper




  • The Legendary Shack Shakers

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Southern Gothic" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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