Look Away!

The U.S. South in New World Studies

Look Away!

New Americanists

More about this series

Book Pages: 536 Illustrations: Published: July 2004

American Studies, Latin American Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Look Away! considers the U.S. South in relation to Latin America and the Caribbean. Given that some of the major characteristics that mark the South as exceptional within the United States—including the legacies of a plantation economy and slave trade—are common to most of the Americas, Look Away! points to postcolonial studies as perhaps the best perspective from which to comprehend the U.S. South. At the same time it shows how, as part of the United States, the South—both center and margin, victor and defeated, and empire and colony—complicates ideas of the postcolonial. The twenty-two essays in this comparative, interdisciplinary collection rethink southern U.S. identity, race, and the differences and commonalities between the cultural productions and imagined communities of the U.S. South and Latin America.

Look Away! presents work by respected scholars in comparative literature, American studies, and Latin American studies. The contributors analyze how writers—including the Martinican Edouard Glissant, the Cuban-American Gustavo Pérez Firmat, and the Trinidad-born, British V. S. Naipaul—have engaged with the southern United States. They explore William Faulkner’s role in Latin American thought and consider his work in relation to that of Gabriel García Márquez and Jorge Luis Borges. Many essays re-examine major topics in southern U.S. culture—such as race, slavery, slave resistance, and the legacies of the past—through the lens of postcolonial theory and postmodern geography. Others discuss the South in relation to the U.S.–Mexico border. Throughout the volume, the contributors consistently reconceptualize U.S. southern culture in a way that acknowledges its postcolonial status without diminishing its distinctiveness.

Contributors. Jesse Alemán, Bob Brinkmeyer, Debra Cohen, Deborah Cohn, Michael Dash, Leigh Anne Duck, Wendy Faris, Earl Fitz, George Handley, Steve Hunsaker, Kirsten Silva Gruesz, Dane Johnson, Richard King, Jane Landers, John T. Matthews, Stephanie Merrim, Helen Oakley, Vincent Pérez, John-Michael Rivera, Scott Romine, Jon Smith, Ilan Stavans, Philip Weinstein, Lois Parkinson Zamora


Look Away . . . is one of the most stimulating books in Southern studies in recent years. It opens up the (U.S.) South to areas of inquiry that are fruitful and highly promising—and, indeed, at a time when the states of the ‘Late Confederacy’ are assuming an increasingly Latin flavor, it looks not only ‘away’ but to also to the future.” — Fred Hobson , Florida Historical Quarterly

“[A] thoughtful and important contribution to southern studies, New World studies, and inter-American studies. Most significantly, the volume offers readers an impressive critical intervention that promises to challenge the way that comparatists connect cultural identity and regional influence.”
— Sophia A. McClennen , Comparative Literature Studies

“[C]onsistently provocative. . . . Jon Smith and Deborah Cohn have assembled an impressive group of thinkers who, collectively, provide a detailed comparative literary history. . . .” — Will Brantley , Southern Literary Journal

“It is in the consideration of the meaning and place of race in society that Look Away! may be the most profound.” — Junius P. Rodriquez, Louisiana History

“Taken together, these essays tell us much about nationalism, racism, regionalism, and cultural identity in the Americas. . . . [I]t is a useful, stimulating, and thought-provoking collection that encourages new ways to perceive the often insular and parochial post-colonial south.” — Ralph Lee Woodward Jr. , Alabama Review

“There is much that is monumental both temporally and spatially about this volume. Apart from being 521 pages long, it clearly aims to be a multi-field or, better yet, transdisciplinary (re)defining endeavor.” — Maria DeGuzman , Mississippi Quarterly

“This is a rich collection of outstandingly innovative essays, wide-ranging and enlightening. . . . Look Away! is an indispensable aid to new understandings of a conflicted region.” — Faith Pullin , Journal of American Studies

"[T]he political readings are provocative, insightful, even brilliant. . . . [L]ikely to prove indispensable to literary critics."
— R. H. Solomon, Choice

"The collection's strength [is] its broad and eclectic scope. . . . Look Away succeeds in fleshing out the possibilities for postcolonial analyses of the U.S. South. . . ." — Julie M. Weise , Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History

“Look Away! is an important collection that expands the vocabularies and national symbol systems that scholars can deploy to think comparatively about the Americas. It is especially useful in breaking the binary between North and South that has so restricted southern literary and historical studies.” — Patricia Yaeger, author of Dirt and Desire: Reconstructing Southern Women’s Writing


Availability: In stock
Price: $32.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jon Smith is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama.

Deborah Cohn is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author of History and Memory in the Two Souths: Recent Southern and Spanish American Fiction.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: Uncanny Hybridities / Jon Smith and Deborah Cohn


A New World Poetics of Oblivion / George B. Handley 25

Delta Desterrados: Antebellum New Orleans and New World Print Culture / Kirsten Silva Gruesz 25

Slave Resistance on the Southeastern Frontier: Fugitives, Maroons, and Banditti in the Age of Revolution / Jane Landers 80

Martinique/Mississippi: Edouard Glissant and Relational Insularity / J. Michael Dash 94

Crossing the Mason-Dixon Line in Drag: The Narrative of Loreta Janet Velazquez, Cuban Women and Confederate Soldier / Jesse Aleman 110

Citizenship and Identity in the Exile: Autobiographies of Gustavo Perez Firmat / Steven Hunsaker 130

Travel and Transference: V.S. Naipaul and the Plantation Past / Leigh Anne Duke 150


Things Fall Apart: The Postcolonial Condition of Real Rock and The Leopard’s Spots / Scott Romine 175

This Race Which Is Not One: The “More Inextricable Compositeness” of William Faulkner’s South / John T. Matthews 201

Richard Wright: From the South to Africa---and Beyond / Richard King 227

Forward into the Past: California and the Contemporary White Southern Imagination / Robert H. Brinkmeyer Jr. and Debra Rae Cohen 251

American Films/American Fantasies: Moviegoing and Regional Identity in Literature of the Americas / Lois Parkinson Zamora 268


Wonder and the Wounds of “Southern” Histories / Stephanie Merrim 311

Southern Economies of Excess: Narrative Expenditure in William Faulkner and Carlos Fuentes / Wendy B. Faris 333

Cant Matter/Must Matter: Setting up the Loom in Faulknerian and Postcolonial Fiction / Philip Weinstein 355

"Wherein the South Differs from the North”: Tracing the Noncosmopolitan Aesthetic in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude / Dane Johnson 383

William Faulkner and the Cold War: The Politics of Cultural Marketing / Helen Oakley 405

William Faulkner, James Agee, and Brazil: The American South in Latin American Literature’s “Other” Tradition / Earl Fitz 419


Embodying Greater Mexico: Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton and the Reconstruction of the Mexican Question / John-Michael Rivera 451

Remembering the Hacienda: History and Memory in Jovita Gonzalez and Eve Raleigh’s Caballero: A Historical Novel / Vincent Perez 471


Beyond Translation: Jorge Luis Borges Revamps William Faulkner / Ilan Stavans 495

Contributors 505

Index 511
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3316-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3304-3
Publicity material