Mississippi Books and Writers

April 2002

Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

Tennessee Williams and the South

By Kenneth Holditch and Richard Freeman Leavitt

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $30.00, ISBN: 1578064104)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from the publisher:

Words and pictures that show the South’s imprint on the life and works of the great playwright

No other writer has been more closely connected to the region of his birth than Tennessee Williams. Indeed, he remarked on several occasions that the farther south one went in America, the more congenial life was. He wrote, he said, not only of the present but also of the past and of a South that had no counterpart anywhere else.

Combining his words with pictures, this biographical album reveals the closeness of Williams to the American South. Although he roamed far, he never forgot the “more congenial climate” the South afforded him and his creativity.

Williams was born in Mississippi in 1911 and lived there with his family until he was seven. Thomas Lanier Williams, who became “Tennessee,” absorbed much of his creative material from this Mississippi home place. Many of his ancestors were distinguished Tennesseans, a fact in which he took considerable pride. Although he grew to maturity in St. Louis, it was to the South that he continually returned in his memory and in his imagination. It was in New Orleans and Key West that he chose to spend a large part of his later years.

His characters—Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, Alma Winemiller in Summer and Smoke, and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire—are victims of having outlived the southern past in which they had been at home. Unlike them, despite the region’s industrial transformation, Williams always found the South his own.

This book underscores that intimate connection by featuring photographs of people and places that influenced him. Enhanced with a long essay and captioned with quotations from Williams’s plays, memoirs, and letters, more than one hundred pictures document the keen sense of place that he felt throughout his life and career.

Kenneth Holditch, a professor emeritus at the University of New Orleans, the editor of the Tennessee Williams Journal, and the co-editor (with Mel Gussaw) of the Library of America edition of Williams’s works, lives in New Orleans.

Richard Freeman Leavitt is the editor/compiler of The World of Tennessee Williams and the compiler of the photographs and the genealogical chart for Lyle Leverich’s Tom: The Unknown Williams. He lives in the Great North Woods region of New Hampshire.

The Collected Poems of Tennessee WilliamsThe Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams

Edited by David E. Roessel and Nicholas Rand Moschovakis

New Directions (Hardcover, $29.95, ISBN: 0811215083)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Even after his plays made him a celebrity, Tennessee Williams “identified himself, privately, as a lone and tortured poet,” reveal editors Nicholas Moschovakis and David Roessel (co-editor, The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes) in their introduction to The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams. Williams (1911-1983) wrote verse throughout his life, which is fully collected for the first time in this anthology. In the Winter of Cities and Androgyne, Mon Amour, the two collections Williams published in his lifetime, are here, as are uncollected pieces, verse from his plays and fiction, early works from the 1930s indebted to his hero Hart Crane, and even juvenilia by “Thos. Williams, 9th gr.” Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Light in AugustLight in August: The Corrected Text

By William Faulkner

Modern Library (Hardcover, $18.95, ISBN: 067964248X)

Publication date: April 2002


One of Faulkner’s most admired and accessible novels, Light in August reveals the great American author at the height of his powers. Lena Grove’s resolute search for the father of her unborn child begets a rich, poignant, and ultimately hopeful story of perseverance in the face of mortality. It also acquaints us with several of Faulkner’s most unforgettable characters, including the Reverend Gail Hightower, who is plagued by visions of Confederate horsemen, and Joe Christmas, a ragged, itinerant soul obsessed with his mixed-race ancestry.

Powerfully entwining these characters’ stories, Light in August vividly brings to life Faulkner’s imaginary South, one of literature’s great invented landscapes, in all of its impoverished, violent, unerringly fascinating glory.

This edition reproduces the corrected text of Light in August as established in 1985 by Noel Polk.

Living Dead in DallasLiving Dead in Dallas

By Charlaine Harris

Book 2 of The Southern Vampires Series

Ace Books (Paperback, $6.50, ISBN: 0441009239)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from the publisher:

When a vampire asks Sookie Stackhouse to use her telepathic skills to find another missing vampire, she agrees under one condition: the bloodsuckers must promise to let the humans go unharmed.

Easier said than done.

Billy Ray's FarmBilly Ray’s Farm: Essays from a Place Called Tula

By Larry Brown

Touchstone Books (Paperback, $12.00, ISBN: 0743225244)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Celebrated for depicting the dark, seamy side of Southern life, Mississippi novelist Brown (Fay; Father and Son) turns to sunnier topics in this loose-jointed collection of essays paying tribute to the people and places that influenced his writing. The title piece, a rueful reflection on son Billy Ray’s persistent bad luck with cattle, sets the tone: despite dead calves, misbehaving bulls, rampaging coyotes and dilapidated fences, father and son remain optimistic. “Billy Ray’s farm does not yet exist on an earthly plane,” writes Brown. “On Billy Ray’s farm there will be total harmony, wooden fence rows straight as a plumb line, clean, with no weeds, no rusted barbed wire.” As Brown details his own efforts to impose harmony on his farm by building a house (“Shack”), protecting his stock from predators (“Goatsongs”), clearing brush and stocking fish (“By the Pond”), he balances pastoral odes with a clear-eyed accounting of the costs of country living. That realism gives Brown’s narratives a plainspoken truth that makes more believable the simple pleasures he takes in these simple tasks. The writer’s home life in Oxford, Miss., is more compelling than his chronicles of book tours and writers conferences (“The Whore in Me”), but the latter is kept to a minimum. More successful are the tributes to literary mentors Harry Crews and Madison Jones and to the men who taught him “the fine points of guns and dogs” after his father’s death, when Brown was 16. These humble personal essays, which provide a glimpse at the long apprenticeship of a writer who came up the hard way, leave the reader hoping Brown will soon tackle a full-blown autobiography.

The Unvanquished (Large Print Edition)

By William Faulkner

G. K. Hall (Hardcover, $28.95, ISBN: 0783897634)

Publication date: April 2002


The Unvanquished is often considered William Faulkner’s quintessential Civil War novel, and it remains one of the best introductions to Faulkner for first-time readers. The novel was constructed from short stories, most of which were first published in The Saturday Evening Post, and as a result each chapter can be read as a story unto itself. Together, the seven chapters of the novel tell the story of the Sartoris family during and after the war, the novel is especially noteworthy for its acute portrayal of the southern home front during the war, where many historians feel the war was truly lost for the Confederacy.

Passionate Observer: Eudora Welty Among Artists of the Thirties

By Eudora Welty and Rene Paul Barilleaux

Mississippi Museum of Art (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 1887422064)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from the publisher:

Published by the Mississippi Museum of Art in conjunction with the exhibition of the same title. Edited by Rene Paul Barilleaux, the 84-page volume includes essays by Suzanne Marrs, Patti Carr Black, and Francis V. O’Connor. The book features numerous full color and black-and-white illustrations throughout.

Month-by-Month Gardening in MississippiMonth-by-Month Gardening in Mississippi

By Felder Rushing

Cool Springs Press (Paperback, $19.99, ISBN: 1930604807)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from the publisher:

Gardening is now the favorite leisure pastime in America. Homeowners are realizing the health benefits derived from gardening and the increase in their home’s property value. Book retailers are well aware that the trend in gardening books is to regional titles that provide credible information on the plants that perform well in specific regions.

Month-by-Month Gardening in Mississippi is written by the highly popular gardening expert Felder Rushing. Contains monthly advice on what to do and when to do it in the garden. The book contains 12 plant categories ranging from annuals to vines.

Taps Taps

Fiction by Willie Morris

Mariner Books (Paperback, $13.00, ISBN: 0618219021)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from Booklist:

Morris died in 1999, and it’s hard to accept that this is his last book. The gritty but poignant writings of the Mississippian who served as editor at Harper’s in the 1960s have included a book about his childhood dog and one about his cat, but most famously, North Toward Home (1967), in which he recalled the South of his childhood. Taps is a summary statement of Morris’ fondness for the Mississippi where he came of age, and as such, the novel reads like a memoir of childhood and youth. The main character is Swayze Barksdale, who, at age 16, is busy gathering impressions of the adult world at a time when the Korean War is waging. A trumpet player, Swayze has plenty of opportunity to observe those around him when he plays “Taps” at the funerals of deceased hometown GIs. Swayze has a best friend, who teaches him about companionship; he has a girlfriend, who teaches him about early love and sexuality; and he has an adult friend, whose life and death teach Swayze the ultimate lessons in love and loss. Plotlines are kept to a minimum; this is a novel of characters rather than story, and what delicious, real, and beautifully conceived characters they are. Times were simpler in the 1950s, but this is not a simple novel. It’s a deep and enriching last act for the delightful Willie Morris. —Brad Hooper. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Rescuing Jesus from the Christians Rescuing Jesus from the Christians

By Clayton Sullivan

Trinity Press International (Paperback, $16.00, ISBN: 1563383802)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from Booklist:

Sullivan says he writes “for reflective laypersons who are not satisfied with the belief system they encounter in orthodox Christianity” rather than for academics or clergy. It appears, however, that he writes for laypersons who have just begun their reflection, with no knowledge of biblical scholarship and no more knowledge of theological tradition than might be derived by an uncritical ear from Sunday morning sermons in an evangelical congregation. Since Sullivan comes out of a Southern Baptist tradition and writes at least in part as a response to that denomination’s fundamentalist turn, dissatisfied members of that tradition may be the audience he really has in mind. Readers will encounter here a rudimentary summary of historical Jesus research, an introduction to the longstanding distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, and an invitation to participate in a Christianity measured more by its social engagement than by its theology or its attitude toward the Bible. —Steven Schroeder. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

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