Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Reviewing the South
The Literary Marketplace and the Southern Renaissance, 1920–1941

$29.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies on the American South

  • Date Published: July 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316602379

$ 29.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The American South received increased attention from national commentators during the interwar era. Beginning in the 1920s, the proliferation of daily book columns and Sunday book supplements in newspapers reflected a growing audience of educated readers and its demand for books and book reviews. This period of intensified scrutiny coincided with a boom in the publishing industry, which, in turn, encouraged newspapers to pay greater attention to the world of books. Reviewing the South shows how northern critics were as much involved in the Southern Literary Renaissance as Southern authors and critics. Southern writing, Gardner argues, served as a litmus to gauge Southern exceptionalism. For critics and their readers, nothing less than the region's ability to contribute to the vibrancy and growth of the nation was at stake.

    • Highlights the role of the critic in shaping public discourse, demonstrating how the process of reviewing worked
    • Examines the internal records of publishing firms, weeklies, and newspapers, as well as correspondence among authors, critics, editors, and readers
    • Links both the Southern and Harlem Renaissances through the literary marketplace
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Gardner, one of America's leading literary historians, offers strikingly fresh insights into the South and the nation between the World Wars. In shifting our focus from authors to the commercial book industry, Gardner reveals a world of reviewers, readers, and publishers, a culture that has remained largely hidden until now. This book will shape our understanding of American literary history for years to come.' Jonathan Daniel Wells, University of Michigan

    ‘Sarah Gardner's lively and, at times, provocative Reviewing the South locates the origins of the Southern Renaissance in the joint efforts of publishers, daily newspapers, and weekly journals (both inside and outside the South), and, of course, book reviewers and critics. Her treatment of the intersection of the Harlem Renaissance with the Southern Renaissance is particularly fresh and revealing, while her categories of analysis – realism, traditionalism, and the genre of the grotesque and gothic – will be of great help to future students of the territory that Gardner has so skilfully mapped here. Reviewing the South is a must-read for literary historians and intellectual historians of the South, and should prove invaluable for anyone interested in Southern and American cultural history.' Richard King, Emeritus Professor, University of Nottingham

    ‘Gardner has produced a fascinating analysis of the role of the south in the American imaginary during the interwar years based on a sophisticated and nuanced exploration of the role of reviewers and their reviews of a wide range of southern fiction in the mainstream press during those years.' Michael Winship, University of Texas, Austin

    'Gardner begins this cultural-historical study of the southern literary renaissance - a rebirth in and new direction for literature from the southern US after WWI - with a review of the roles that book publishers and reviewers played in steering readers to worthwhile books. … A central, intriguing idea underlying Gardner’s analysis is that the line between meeting a demand and creating that demand in the first place is sometimes hard to trace. The book looks at how southern renaissance writers including Julia Peterkin, Jean Toomer, Ellen Glasgow, Erskine Caldwell, and William Faulkner rejected sentimentality and nostalgia, offering instead a more realistic view of Jim Crow. Analysis of reviews, readers’ replies, and advertisements demonstrates why these writers’ works gained attention between the wars, how readers responded to them, and why Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind outsold them all. … Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.' C. A. Bily, Choice

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316602379
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.489kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: from Renaissance to reformation
    1. The world the reviewers made
    2. The cultural economy of reading in the interwar years
    3. The South meets Harlem
    4. Confronting Jim Crow
    5. Away down South in the land of problems
    6. A class of burden bearers
    7. The most audacious book ever written by Southerners
    8. Fiction fights the Civil War

  • Author

    Sarah Gardner, Mercer University, Georgia
    Sarah Gardner is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Southern Studies at Mercer University, Georgia where she teaches courses on the American South, nineteenth-century America, and print culture. She is the author of Blood and Irony: Southern White Women's Narratives of the Civil War, 1861–1937 (2012) and co-editor of Voices of the American South (2004).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.