In this far-reaching literary history, John Wharton Lowe remakes
the map of American culture by revealing the deep, persistent
connections between the ideas and works produced by writers of the
American South and the Caribbean. Lowe demonstrates that a tendency
to separate literary canons by national and regional boundaries has
led critics to ignore deep ties across highly permeable borders.
Focusing on writers and literatures from the Deep South and Gulf
states in relation to places including Mexico, Haiti, and Cuba,
Lowe reconfigures the geography of southern literature as
encompassing the "circumCaribbean," a dynamic framework within
which to reconsider literary history, genre, and aesthetics.
Considering thematic concerns such as race, migration, forced
exile, and colonial and postcolonial identity, Lowe contends that
southern literature and culture have always transcended the
physical and political boundaries of the American South. Lowe uses
cross-cultural readings of nineteenth- and twentieth-century
writers, including William Faulkner, Martin Delany, Zora Neale
Hurston, George Lamming, Cristina Garcia, Edouard Glissant, and
Madison Smartt Bell, among many others, to make his argument. These
literary figures, Lowe argues, help us uncover new ways of thinking
about the shared culture of the South and Caribbean while
demonstrating that southern literature has roots even farther south
than we realize.