June Howard (English, American culture, women’s studies) and Joshua Miller (English, Judaic studies) discuss Howard’s latest book, followed by Q & A.
*Regional Writing and the Puzzles of Place-Time* is a study of literary regionalism. It focuses on the fiction of the United States and considers the place of the genre in world literature. Regionalism is usually understood to be a literature bound to the local, but this study explores how regional writing shapes ways of imagining not only the neighborhood or the province, but also the nation, and ultimately the world. Its key premise is that thinking about place always entails imagining time. It analyzes how concepts crystallize across disciplines and in everyday discourse and proposes ways of revising American literary history and close readings of particular authors’ work. It demonstrates, for example, the importance of the figure of the school-teacher and the one-room schoolhouse in local color and subsequent place-focused writing. Such representations embody the contested relation in modernity between localities and the knowledge they produce, and books that carry metropolitan and cosmopolitan learning. The volume discusses fiction from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, including works by Sui Sin Far/Edith Eaton, Sarah Orne Jewett, Ernest Gaines, Wendell Berry, and Ursula LeGuin as well as romance novels and regional mysteries.