World War II and Southern Modernity
World War I brought southerners into contact with modernity at a distance, but World War II brought modernity to the South. The inherent tension between the South’s rural, agricultural social structure and the urbanizing, industrializing processes of modernity generated a distinctive form of distal modernism in the work of southern writers after World War I. After World War II, however, the South itself began modernizing, becoming more urban and more industrial and leading many southerners to adopt mainstream American social practices. As the South became a proximal site of modernity, it became less distinctive as a region, southern identity became a less stable construction, and southern literature became more consistent with mainstream American literature.
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