cover of book

The Southern Press: Literary Legacies and the Challenge of Modernity
by Doug Cumming
foreword by Hodding Carter III
Northwestern University Press, 2009
Paper: 978-0-8101-2394-6
Library of Congress Classification PN4893.C78 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 071.5


The Southern Press suggests that the South’s journalism struck a literary pose closer to the older English press than to the democratic penny press or bourgeois magazines of the urban North. The Southern journalist was more likely to be a Romantic and an intellectual. The region’s journalism was personal, colorful, and steeped in the classics. News was less important than narrative. Neither "public" nor "opinion" had much meaning in a racially segregated South. Paradoxically, it was this non-reformist literary tradition that produced liberal southern editors, from Henry Grady to Ralph McGill, who were viewed in the North as both explainers of and dissidents from the South.

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