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Larry Brown and the Blue-Collar South$
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Jean W. Cash and Keith Perry

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781934110751

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781934110751.001.0001

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date: 17 December 2018

A Miracle of Catfish and the Recursions of Art

A Miracle of Catfish and the Recursions of Art

(p.111) A Miracle of Catfish and the Recursions of Art
Larry Brown and the Blue-Collar South

John A. Staunton

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter, which offers a reading of Larry Brown’s novel A Miracle of Catfish, posthumously published in 2007, describes Brown as “an ethnographer of those struggling to negotiate life at the edge” as well as a “participant-observer..invested in the outcome of his characters.” It argues that Brown also wants his readers invested in those outcomes because he believes that his characters’ fates could also be our own—“so we can possibly save ourselves from going along with or giving in to” the forces that disrupt their lives. The chapter shows that A Miracle of Catfish is engaged in a painstaking process of turning everyday experience into what John Dewey calls an aesthetic experience. The novel, in representing the working class of the rural South, confronts the thematic perception that has always—and continues to—beset regionalism.

Keywords:   working class, Larry Brown, Miracle of Catfish, aesthetic experience, South, regionalism

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