Fans of literary Mississippi now have a guide to graves, homes, and haunts
Oct. 8, 2002
JACKSON, Miss. — William Faulkner’s Oxford, Eudora Welty’s Jackson, Walker Percy and Shelby Foote’s Greenville, Beth Henley’s Hazlehurst—adventure awaits the literary traveler in each of these Mississippi environs. But where does one find the gravesites and birthplaces, the inspirations and haunts of great Mississippi writers?
A new book, Touring Literary Mississippi published by the University Press of Mississippi ($46.00, hardback, ISBN 1-57806-367-1; $20.00, paperback, ISBN 1-57806-368-X), leads tourists to the right spots.
By taking the literary traveler on seven preplanned tours—through the Delta, along Highway 61, to the heart of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha Country, to sites near Interstate 55 and the Natchez Trace, to the piney woods of East and South Mississippi, and along the sun-struck Gulf Coast—this book captures the phenomenal abundance and diversity of Mississippi literature.
More than a guidebook, the book also gives explicit directions to writers’ homes and other literary sites. It includes capsule biographies and well over a hundred photographs of writers, their residences, and their literary environments.
“This book is intended to be a helpful guide for travelers who want to see homes and other sites,” the authors write in their preface. “With well over a hundred pictures, it is also designed for the armchair tourist.”
The sheer number of writers discovered, recovered, and claimed by Mississippi will astonish travelers both from within and from without the state. Authors include not only such major figures in the pantheon of American literature as Faulkner, Welty, Tennessee Williams, and Richard Wright but also reclaim the less well-known.
As the locations bring to life the connection of ordinary rituals with the stuff of fiction, poetry, and memoir, these hands-on tours make evident the special cross-pollination of writer and community in Mississippi.
Patti Carr Black is the author of Art in Mississippi, 1720- 1980 and The Southern Writers Quiz Book (both published by the University Press of Mississippi). Marion Barnwell, a fiction writer and an assistant professor of English at Delta State University, compiled and edited A Place Called Mississippi (published by the University Press of Mississippi).
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