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Haddox's Fear & Fascinations: Representing Catholicism in the American South

Thomas F. Haddox’s Fears and Fascinations: Representing Catholicism in the American South (Fordham UP) is an innovative book that charts what has been a largely unexplored literary landscape, looking at the work of such diverse writers as the gens de couleur libre poets of antebellum New Orleans, Kate Chopin, Mark Twain, Carson McCullers, Margaret Mitchell, Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and John Kennedy Toole. Haddox shows that Catholicism and its Church have always been a presence, albeit in different ways, in the southern cultural tradition. For some, Catholicism has been associated with miscegenation and with the political aspirations of African-Americans; for others, it has served as the model for the feudal and patriarchal society that some southern whites sought to establish; for still others, it has presented a gorgeous aesthetic spectacle associated with decadence and homoeroticism; and for still others, it has marked a quotidian, do-it-yourself lifestyle attractive for its lack of concern with southern anxieties about honor. By focusing on the shifting and contradictory ways Catholicism has signified within southern literature and culture, Fears and Fascinations contributes to a more nuanced understanding of American and southern literary and cultural history.


“…accessible, insightful, and comprehensive.” — Choice
“…highly recommended to all readers intrigued by Southern-Amercian culture and its media and literary shaping…” — Midwest Book Review
“Haddox makes a major contribution by writing a wide-ranging history of the representational relationship between Catholicism and southernness. . .” — Jennifer Rae Greeson, Princeton University

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