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World War I and Southern Modernism$
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David A. Davis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496815415

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496815415.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 05 April 2020

The Southern Soldier in the American Army

The Southern Soldier in the American Army

Sectionalism, Nationalism, and Modernity

(p.49) 2 The Southern Soldier in the American Army
World War I and Southern Modernism
David A. Davis
University Press of Mississippi

Several white southern writers who served in the American Expeditionary Force, including William Alexander Percy, Paul Green, and Donald Davidson, depict a set of antagonistic ideological forces in their writing. Serving in a national army exposed them to modernity and forced them to repress their sectional identity and to embrace patriotic nationalism, at least temporarily. During the war, many white, male southerners self-consciously questioned their regional identity, leaving them torn between the legacy of the lost cause, their tendency to view America as an occupying enemy, and their sectional identity on the one hand and their sense of patriotism and duty, their impulse to homogenize with the rest of the nation, and their emerging sense of nationalism on the other. Their post-war writing shows them wresting with these antagonistic forces, and the tension they reflect between rural regionalism and urban nationalism is one of the characteristics of distal modernism.

Keywords:   Nationalism, Regionalism, Lost Cause, Patriotism, William Alexander Percy

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