PJAS 13-3

Marco Petrelli
Out of Eden: Old South, Post-South and Ur-South in Sara Taylor’s The Shore
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 13 (Autumn 2019), pp. 192-203

Abstract: Sara Taylor’s The Shore is ex-centric in many ways. As for the setting, it geographically and socially depicts a fringe of the already-peripheral Appalachian culture, shedding a new and interesting light on the Southern “sense of place” through the use of magical-realistic elements that actually connect characters and landscape. Geography, though, is but the palimpsest. The book’s liminality is further reinforced by the fact that The Shore’s long and violent familiar history is chiefly narrated through the voices of six generations of women struggling not to be silenced by the all-embracing southern patriarchy. Considering both the psycho-geographical and socio-historical dimensions described by Taylor, this essay will show how The Shore stands as a counter-dynastic novel giving a voice to those who were excluded from the South’s self-projected image-in-place. Also, through its comprehensive outlook on southern history, the novel chronicles the (frustrated) effort to overcome postmodern placelessness via an-other way of constructing southern identity.

Keywords: Sara Taylor; US South; Post-South; Southern Gothic; Pastoralism; Chronotope; Poor Whites; Postmodernism; Magical Realism; Patriarchy

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