In Sacred Groves and Ravaged Gardens, Louise Westling explores how the complex, difficult roles of women in southern culture shaped the literary worlds of Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, and Flannery O'Connor. Tracing the cultural heritage of the South, Westling shows how southern women reacted to the violent, false world created by their men--a world in which women came to be shrouded as icons of purity in atonement for the sins of men. Exposing the actual conditions of women's lives, creating assertive protagonists who resist or revise conventional roles, and exploring rich matriarchal traditions and connections to symbolic landscapes Welty, McCullers, and O'Connor created a body of fiction that enriches and complements the patriarchal version of southern life presented in the works of William Faulkner, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and William Styron.
About the Author
LOUISE H. WESTLING is a professor of English at the University of Oregon. She is the author or editor of several books, including Sacred Groves and Ravaged Gardens.
"An engaging study . . . by and large, a worthy addition to the Southern literature shelf."--Studies in the Novel
"A very fine book . . . [Westling] provides us with a good deal to ponder not only about the Southern literary experience but also about how we all live."--American Literature
"Sacred Groves is well written and handsomely produced. The readings, usually lively and sensible, are informed with biographical and critical details that are especially interesting as they connect the three writers to each other."--Studies in Short Fiction
"Louise Westling's Sacred Groves and Ravaged Gardens is a welcome addition to criticism of American literature. . . . Westling's well-written book has the strengths of the best work in this American feminist mainstream."--Novel: A Forum on Fiction
"At last a critic has assessed the works of Welty, McCullers, and O'Connor from the standpoint of the writers' common background, with its inherent curses and blessings. Westling conducts her study with exceptional skill, a deep feminist sensibility, and a genuine respect for these authors, who have given us what Faulkner could not: the southern woman's story.”--Belles Lettres