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Rough South, Rural SouthRegion and Class in Recent Southern Literature$
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Jean W. Cash and Keith Perry

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496802330

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496802330.001.0001

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Once a Paradise: Brad Watson’s Southern Afterlife

Once a Paradise: Brad Watson’s Southern Afterlife

(p.199) Once a Paradise: Brad Watson’s Southern Afterlife
Rough South, Rural South

Wade Newhouse

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses Brad Watson's 2002 novel The Heaven of Mercury, which lies squarely amid the matrix of evolving and competing Souths. It has recently become standard at conferences and in journals devoted to southern literature to ask whether southern literature itself is still a distinct category. For scholars in new southern studies, “southern” literature includes work produced as far from the old Confederacy as Caribbean and Central American nations, while critics have declared that novels as canonically New England as Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables (1851) unconsciously depend upon an antebellum southern agrarian ideal. A native of Mississippi who spent time in Florida, Watson is by rights a true southerner, without such common qualifiers as “adopted” or “expatriate” to dilute his pedigree.

Keywords:   southern literature, Brad Watson, South, novels

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