The Imagined South

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
09 April 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

The U.S. South exists as a region shaped by shifting perspectives. Some early observers may have conjured it as a place of Edenic beauty, but for others the horrors of slavery could never be mitigated by visions of fine landscapes. The South has inspired a wealth of literature which frequently places it in deep contrast with the rest of the United States and the Americas generally.

This module considers the South though autobiography, short stories, poetry, drama and novels, taking in the debates over slavery and secession leading up to the Civil War of 1861-65 and major works by Mark Twain and William Faulkner. We will discuss the processes of self-fashioning involved in Southern writing, as well as various ways in which such models are problematised: for instance, through African-American perspectives, aberrant locales and recent critical moves to consider the region in wider hemispheric terms, away from strictly U.S.-oriented identities.

Module aims

No information available.

Module learning outcomes

No information available.

Module information

General Reading:

Extracts from W. J. Cash, The Mind of the South; James C. Cobb, Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity; Suzanne Jones and Sharon Monteith (eds.), South to a New Place: Region, Literature, Culture; Jon Smith and Deborah Cohn (eds.), Look Away!: The U.S. South in New World Studies *
Selected letters and journals from the colonial and antebellum periods *
Southwestern humour: selected stories by Longstreet, Harris, and others *
Selected Civil War letters and diaries *
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885); extracts from Life on the Mississippi (1883) *
Selected African-American folktales, songs and lyrics *
Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)
Blues (links and lyrics to be provided)
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (1930)
* Letters, journal entries, stories, poems provided on Moodle:
William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (1936)
William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (1936)
Country music (links and lyrics to be provided)
Eudora Welty, selected stories *
Flannery O'Connor, selected stories *
Lee Smith, Oral History (1983)
Robert Olen Butler, A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain (1992)
Ernest Gaines, The Autobiography of Miss Jean Pittman (1971)
Allan Gurganus, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1989)
Allan Gurganus, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1989)

Learning and teaching methods

Each week there is a two-hour seminar—there are no lectures on this module, with the emphasis being on group discussion. Students should bear in mind the reading required for each week, and set aside enough time to get this done in preparation for the seminar—this is likely to vary from week to week, so please plan appropriately as it is vital to read the material.


  • Twain, Mark; Coveney, Peter. (1966) The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Harmondsworth: Penguin. vol. Penguin English library
  • LT323: Week 3 Colonial and Antebellum Writing,
  • Smith, Lee. (1983) Oral history, New York: Ballantine Books.
  • Faulkner, William. (1963, reprinted 1979) As I lay dying, Harmondsworth: Penguin. vol. Penguin modern classics
  • Cobb, James C. (2005) Away down South: a history of Southern identity, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • O'Connor, Flannery. (1990) The complete stories, London: Faber.
  • Cash, W. J. (1941) The mind of the South, New York: A. A. Knopf.
  • LT323 essay questions,
  • (no date) Rhiannon Giddens, Freedom Highway (2017).
  • Faulkner, William. (1995, c1936) Absalom, Absalom!, London: Vintage.
  • Welty, Eudora. (1981) The collected stories of Eudora Welty, London: M. Boyars.
  • LT323: Week 9: Blues,
  • Gaines, Ernest J. (1972) The autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, New York: Bantam Books.
  • Ward, Jesmyn. (2017) Salvage the Bones, London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.
  • LT323: Week 4: Southwestern Humor,
  • LT323: Week 5: Civil War texts,
  • LT323: Week 7: African-American Folk Tales and Songs,
  • Faulkner, William. (1964, c1931) The sound and the fury, Harmondsworth, Eng: Penguin Books. vol. Penguin modern classics
  • Hurston, Zora Neale; Dove, Rita; Gates, Henry Louis. (2008) Jonah's gourd vine: a novel, New York, N.Y.: HarperPerennial. vol. Harper Perennial modern classics
  • LT323: Week 18 Country music,
  • LT323 module outline, publication details, etc.,
  • Robert Olen Butler. (1993) A good scent from a strange mountain: stories, London: Minerva.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Participation marks 10%
Coursework Essay 1 (3,000-3,500 words) 14/01/2020 45%
Coursework Essay 2 (3,000 - 3,500 words) 23/04/2020 45%
Exam 180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Owen Robinson
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Prof Duncan James Salkeld
Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature
Available via Moodle
Of 44 hours, 44 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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