Title: South To A Very Old Place
Publisher: McGraw Hill
Publication Date: 1971
Edition: 1st Edition.
New York. 1971. McGraw Hill. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Slightly Worn Dustjacket. 230 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Isadore Seltzer. Photo credit by Hugh Bell. 0070440735. keywords: Literature Black America. inventory # 19079. FROM THE PUBLISHER - ‘The voice that is heard in these pages is seasoned and mature. It is the voice of a man who revels in his blackness, even as he celebrates his American identity. Murray’s is essentially a comic vision, based upon his sense of the absurd, and derived from that tough tradition of native existentialism that embraces both Brer Rabbit and the blues. This book, which is a cross between inspired journalism, cultural commentary, and spiritual autobiography, will place him in the front rank of Afro-American authors.’ - Robert Bone. Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again. But Albert Murray believes you not only can but must - it is a way of taking your own measure, understanding the things that underlie your sense of who you are and what the world is and what you are doing in it. Home for Mr. Murray is the South; Alabama, specifically - he spent his early years in Mobile and was educated at the Tuskegee Institute. Two years ago, a fellow Southerner, Willie Morris, commissioned him to write a couple of articles for Harper’s ‘Going Home’ series. He was to travel around the South, interviewing leading white Southern intellectuals and writers. Mr. Murray took off on this journey - revisiting Mobile and Tuskegee as well as Atlanta, Greensboro, New Orleans, and Greenville - and suddenly found himself writing this book, In part, it is a book about one black intellectual’s perspectives on a selected number of white Southern writers, but as Mr. Murray says, ‘Perhaps more than that it is simply about a black intellectual being in direct, personal, man-to-man contact with white intellectuals, who after all are neither more Southern than he nor more committed to literature as a basic discipline. As such, it is also an attempt to shift the emphasis of the current national dialog from academic theory and news media cliché to the texture of personal experience, representative anecdotes of reality, the poetry inherent in memory.’ It is the poetry and truth of actual experience that is Mr. Murray’s constant preoccupation. He openly declares war on abstraction - whether it is the language of the sociologists or the rhetoric of certain black power. In form, this book is wonderfully free and innovative. As the author talks with Robert Penn Warren, C. V Woodward, Jonaathan Daniels, Walker Percy, and others, he reflects on the South past and present; on the intermingled blackness and whiteness of American culture; and spins off into recollections of his boyhood and youth. In the Tuskegee section, he re-creates his student days, his awakening interest in literature, and gives a wonderful portrait of a young teacher in the English department, Morteza Drexel Sprague, who had a great influence upon him and upon another young man named Ralph Ellison. In the Mobile section, where he is truly among homefolks who knew him when, he gives us the voices of people of his own generation trying to understand their children, and the America of the 1970s. Here is a work that significantly enriches our view of American culture and literature by a writer who, as Robert Penn Warren has said: ‘. has lived his book and has thought his book and has written it. He is his own man and has done things in his own way, and what he says demands to be heard, And he gives the pleasure that a good writer – a real writer - always gives.’ Very Good In Slightly Worn Dustjacket. Bookseller Inventory # 19079
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