There's nothing more cherished by Southerners than their dogs. Dogs, and their Southern keepers, know when it's time to eat and when it's time to be quiet. Both know when to move slow and when to bare teeth. In Southern literature, dogs have taken prominent roles as muses and characters, confessors and conspirators. Southerners love their dogs almost as much as their mammas, and Southern Dogs and Their People aims to celebrate that love.
Photographer P.S. Davis has been taking photographs of dogs around her home of Greenville, Alabama, for many years. Her photographs chronicle the lives of dogs and their owners, from the poodles of a rich widow to the mutt of a homeless veteran. As a photographer, Davis is known for her tenderness and steely-eyed wit, her sense of the perfect and the absurd. Editor Roberta Gamble, Davis's friend and neighbor, has brought together a wide-ranging collection of quotations from great Southern writers, including William Faulkner, Lee Smith, Harry Cress, Bailey White, Larry Brown, Clyde Edgerton, Eudora Welty, Zora Neale Hurston, James Dickey, Anne Tyler, James Tate, Flannery O'Connor, Bobbie Ann Mason, and many others. This fond tribute by two dog-loving Southerners is the perfect gift for every dog lover.
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I did not grow up in a culture of do shows. I grew up in a culture of Dog. There is a difference. The two pointers my daddy had when I was born were Nick and Same. Sam was my favorite because he would pay me some attention. Nick wouldn't give me the time of day. When I was very little I thought of them as beings akin to older men, beings to whom I owed some kind of allegiance. I admired them and hoped to earn their respect. (Clyde Edgerton, from the introduction)
James Dickey, Lee Smith, Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O'Connor, William Gay, Anne Tyler, Reynolds Price, Pauli Murray, Harry Crews, Mary Karr, Larry Brown, Tony Earley, Fred Chappell, Roy Blount, Jr., Madison Smartt Bell, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, Willie Morris, Peter Taylor, Mark Twain, Barry Hannah, James Agee, Lewis Grizzard, Caroline Gordon, Winston Groom, Ellen Gilchrist, William Faulkner, Elizabeth Spencer, Bobbie Ann Mason, Richard Wright, William Styron, Zora Neale Hurston.From the Inside Flap:
This is the South, "a culture of Dog," as Clyde Edgerton puts it in his introduction, and this is the Southern dog; a panoply of working dos, mutts, hounds, and lapdogs who, from time to time, wandered into great Southern literature and made themselves at home. Here are William Faulkner's brave feists and Reynolds Price's wriggling hounds and Elizabeth Spencer's proud curs. SOUTHERN DOGS & THEIR PEOPLE celebrates the dogged good humor of both an animal and a culture.
Photographer P.S. Davis has been taking photographs of dogs around her home of Greenville, Alabama, for many years. With tenderness and flinty-eyed wit, a clear sense of the perfect and the absurd, Davis has documented a way of life. Coupled with quotations selected by editor Roberta Gamble, this book is an elegant meditation on what Southerners think of their dogs ad - not surprisingly - what they think of themselves.
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