Studies in American Literature:
Appalachian Literature
|Books|    |Requirements|    |Syllabus|

Grayson and Whitter ENGL 213-01: Studies in American Literature 
Spring 2005

MWF 11-11:52 Dana 116

Robert Love Taylor
Hours MWF 1-2 or by appointment
Office:  Carnegie 201

Online Resources:

Appalachian GatewayLinks to Appalachian history, culture, physical and social environments, social customs, and images and stereotypesUseful.  

VISTA: Volunteers in Service to America. Find out more about this organization, referred to in Kentucky Straight.

Horseweed: a series of photographs of the plant referred to in Offutt's "Horseweed." And what about hemp? Wonder what it can be used for? What's at issue over its legality? And what does the actor Woody Harrelson have to do with hemp laws?

Pawpaws: Information and pictures, the fruit mentioned as a delicacy in River of Earth.

A Melungeon Website: If the portrayal of the Melungeons in Kentucky Straight intrigued you, here's a site that can give you some further information. See also questions and answers about Melungeons.

Online Course: here is an interesting and useful site, an online course in Appalachian literature with an abundance of primary and secondary materials, including essays written by students (of special interest, an essay on "Sawdust").

Foxfire: Here is the site of the Foxfire Foundation. If the idea of Foxfire--its interviews of older residents of the Appalachians, its educational applications, its mission--is intriguing to you, here's where you can find more information.

Mountain Laurel: A rich source of links to mountain lore, including herbal remedies, recipes, old photographs, mountain tales.

Foxfire, the glowing plant: An article that explains, in fairly understandable terms, how certain forest fungi such as the armillaria mellea emit an eerie glowing light.

James Still Homepage: Autobiography, interviews, photograph, bibliography, and a selection of Still's poetry.

Kentucky Writers A list of writers connected to Kentucky, with articles. Includes James Still. A linked chronological list includes Chris Offutt.

Appalachian Literature: At Home in This World: An interesting view of Appalachian literature, with an analysis of River of Earth, by the Kentucky poet Jim Wayne Miller.

The Seamless Vision of James Still (by Fred Chappell): Chappell has insightful things to say, of course, about how Still writes; he discusses poems and stories in addition to River of Earth.

Photographic History of Hazard, Kentucky: This is a collection of photographs dating from about 1900 and on. Hazard is in East Kentucky. The earlier photographs are of special interest, conveying as they do a sense of Appalachian life before the rapid change of the post-WW I era.

Doris Ulmann Photographs: Doris Ulmann was a photographer who took some wonderful pictures of Appalachian people during the 1930s. Berea College also has some of these photographs online.

Women in Appalachia: A Bibliography: This is described as "a comprehensive listing of books, journal articles and films on women who live and work in Appalachia."

Lee Smith's Homepage: A lot of interesting material here, including photographs of Smith, past and present, and valuable biographical information.

Storytelling: A brief but interesting collection of folktales from Appalachia.

History of coal mining in West Virginia: Of special relevance to The Unquiet Earthand Matewan.

Brief History of the UMWA: An official site of the United Mine Workers.

Jo Carson: A feature article on Carson.

Matewan: a brief history of the Battle of Matewan. And here is a site devoted to the filmmaker (writer and director of Matewan), John Sayles.

Songcatcher: useful information about the movie.

Seven Sisters: Information about the film, including a summary, along with photographs.

Bible Search: Here's where you can track down Biblical references. Just choose the version (probably KJV--King James Version), and type in a phrase in the "Search Words" box.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Christian minister in Germany during the Third Reich who dared to oppose the Nazis and, in 1945 at a concentration camp in Flossenburg, was executed for his trouble. Tom Kolwiecki, the VISTA worker in The Unquiet Earth,is reading a book by Bonhoeffer.

"Dusseldorf Rules": fabricated "rules" for eroding American morals in order to effect a communist takeover, circulated by right-wing groups since the late 1940s. Arthur Lee Sizemore in The Unquiet Earth waves them at Hassel Day before firing him.

Strip Mining: an article on strip-mining, with brief explanations of what happens (or doesn't) when mountaintops are stripped or removed.

Buffalo Creek Flood: documents in photographs and text the Buffalo Creek flood of 1972. The Unquiet Earth describes a similar event in chillingly realistic terms. See also accounts by survivors.

Pittston Coal Company strike in 1989. An excellent series of articles in the Roanoke Times, with background and a discussion of social, environmental, and regional issues.

The "Batmobile": a photograph of a 1951 Studebaker such as Hassel Day drives throughout The Unquiet Earth.

The Pentacostal Churches: Homer Day and Doyle Ray Lloyd are part of the holiness movement, or Pentacostalism. So is Virgil Shepherd in Saving Grace. Here's a good, though brief, article, with links to other material, including the handling of snakes. See also, Christian History, a clear and concise article on the origins of snake-handling and its first proponent.

Old-Time Music:  This is an excellent source of information about old-time music such as that played by Tommy Jarrell in the video Sprout Wings and Fly.  Be sure to check out the Old-Time Fiddlers Hall of Fame, where you can listen to examples of the fiddle styles of such legendary musicians as Ed Haley, John Morgan Salyer, Charlie Bowman, and, of course, Tommy Jarrell.

Songcatching:  Go to this site to read about the actual experience of "songcatching" in the early decades of the twentieth century, specifically that of Cecil Sharp, whose experience may have inspired Chappell's characterization of Holme Barcroft in Farewell, I'm Bound to Leave You, as well as Maggie Greenwald's conception of Lily Penleric in the movie Songcatcher.

Luddites:  Wendell Berry refers to this term in his essay "The Prejudice against Country People."  Go to this site to find out the interesting origins of the word--an early 19th-century revolt against the introduction of machines to replace workers.

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