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Shelby Foote and the art of history : two gates to the city /
James Panabaker.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
Knoxville : University of Tennessee Press, c2004.
description
xviii, 238 p.
ISBN
1572333189
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Knoxville : University of Tennessee Press, c2004.
isbn
1572333189
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
5299906
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-07-01:
More than a decade after Robert Phillips published his groundbreaking Shelby Foote, Novelist and Historian (CH, Jul'92, 29-6152), Panabaker (Kwantlen University College, Canada) zeroes in on specific questions and directions in that earlier study and others generated by continuing scholarly and popular interest in Foote and his writings. Foote wrote his fiction and history at a time when the walls between disciplinary genres were high and solid, but in subsequent years the walls began to crumble, making for easier movement across them. By every measure, Panabaker rises to the challenge of addressing a writer who works across the margins of literature and history, as well as within both disciplines. Panabaker is intense and thorough in establishing the context of critical and historical studies for his examination. He focuses on the problem of myth, the role of facts, the articulation of truth, and the power and limits of the imagination in Foote's writing. Close considerations of key passages illuminate both observations and arguments and the power of Foote's voice. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. T. Bonner Jr. Xavier University of Louisiana
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 2005
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Summaries
Long Description
Ken Burns, creator of the television documentary The Civil War, has called Shelby Foote a "national treasure." Foote, whose appearances on the program helped solidify its phenomenal success, earned a reputation among the general public as one of the nation's leading Civil War historians. His three-volume history of the Civil War is considered by some to be among the most engaging treatments of the conflict to date--Walker Percy called it "an American Illiad"--and his novels, which straddle the line between fiction and history, have drawn both accolades and controversy. Despite such widespread recognition of Foote's work, reception by some in the scholarly community has been lukewarm; historians dismiss his lively narratives as literary, while literary critics tend to view his exhaustively researched works as historical. In Shelby Foote and the Art of History: Two Gates to the City, James Panabaker argues that Foote is one of a rare breed of artists, capable of combining the tools and sensibilities of a writer of modernist fiction with the discipline of a historian. As a result, the author argues, Foote is able to view his native South and its history in ways unavailable to writers from the Southern Renaissance such as William Faulkner, who clung to the mythologized version of southern culture. Panabaker examines several key influences on Foote's development as a writer and historian, from his upbringing in the progressive southern town of Greenville, Mississippi, and his relationship with William Alexander Percy to the inescapable shadow of Faulkner. The collision between the South's chivalric ethos and Foote's modernist skepticism was also significant in forming his particular literaryvision, which was often concerned not so much with defining "southernness" as with presenting characters caught in webs of opposing values. Also included is the most extensive reading to date of Foote's masterwork, The Civil War: A Narrative. Using Foote's novel Shilob as a point of departure, Panabaker discusses how Foote successfully transferred his fictional techniques and thematic concerns to the writing of a modern epic. The historian and the writer, Foote has said, are both in search of truth--"the same truth." In The Civil War, Panabaker argues, Foote achieves "truth" through a novelist's unflagging commitment to record history at its most human level.
Main Description
Ken Burns, creator of the television documentary The Civil War, has called Shelby Foote a "national treasure." Foote, whose appearances on the program helped solidify its phenomenal success, earned a reputation among the general public as one of the nation's leading Civil War historians. His three-volume history of the Civil War is considered by some to be among the most engaging treatments of the conflict to date-Walker Percy called it "an American Illiad"-and his novels, which straddle the line between fiction and history, have drawn both accolades and controversy. Despite such widespread recognition of Foote's work, reception by some in the scholarly community has been lukewarm; historians dismiss his lively narratives as literary, while literary critics tend to view his exhaustively researched works as historical. In Shelby Foote and the Art of History: Two Gates to the City, James Panabaker argues that Foote is one of a rare breed of artists, capable of combining the tools and sensibilities of a writer of modernist fiction with the discipline of a historian. As a result, the author argues, Foote is able to view his native South and its history in ways unavailable to writers from the Southern Renaissance such as William Faulkner, who clung to the mythologized version of southern culture. Panabaker examines several key influences on Foote's development as a writer and historian, from his upbringing in the progressive southern town of Greenville, Mississippi, and his relationship with William Alexander Percy to the inescapable shadow of Faulkner. The collision between the South's chivalric ethos and Foote's [m]odernist skepticism was also significant in forming his particular literary vision, which was often concerned not so much with defining "southernness" as with presenting characters caught in webs of opposing values. Also included is the most extensive reading to date of Foote's masterwork, The Civil War: A Narrative. Using Foote's novel Shiloh as a point of departure, Panabaker discusses how Foote successfully transferred his fictional techniques and thematic concerns to the writing of a modern epic. The historian and the writer, Foote has said, are both in search of truth-"the same truth." In The Civil War, Panabaker argues, Foote achieves "truth" through a novelist's unflagging commitment to record history at its most human level. Shelby Foote has built a career on dichotomies: fiction and history, North and South, black and white, specific and universal, Faulknerian and Hemingwayesque. In Shelby Foote and the Art of History, Panabaker uses these pairings as "two gates to the city," keys to understanding the works of one of America's most popular and contentious tellers of history. James Panabaker is an instructor in the Department of English at Kwantlen University College, Canada.
Short Annotation
Ken Burns, creator of the television documentary The Civil War, has called Shelby Foote a "national treasure.
Unpaid Annotation
Ken Burns, creator of the television documentary The Civil War, has called Shelby Foote a "national treasure." Foote, whose appearances on the program helped solidify its phenomenal success, earned a reputation among the general public as one of the nation's leading Civil War historians. His three-volume history of the Civil War is considered by some to be among the most engaging treatments of the conflict to date--Walker Percy called it "an American Illiad"--and his novels, which straddle the line between fiction and history, have drawn both accolades and controversy. Despite such widespread recognition of Foote's work, reception by some in the scholarly community has been lukewarm; historians dismiss his lively narratives as literary, while literary critics tend to view his exhaustively researched works as historical. In Shelby Foote and the Art of History: Two Gates to the City, James Panabaker argues that Foote is one of a rare breed of artists, capable of combining the tools and sensibilities of a writer of modernist fiction with the discipline of a historian. As a result, the author argues, Foote is able to view his native South and its history in ways unavailable to writers from the Southern Renaissance such as William Faulkner, who clung to the mythologized version of southern culture. Panabaker examines several key influences on Foote's development as a writer and historian, from his upbringing in the progressive southern town of Greenville, Mississippi, and his relationship with William Alexander Percy to the inescapable shadow of Faulkner. The collision between the South's chivalric ethos and Foote's modernist skepticism was also significant in forming his particular literaryvision, which was often concerned not so much with defining "southernness" as with presenting characters caught in webs of opposing values. Also included is the most extensive reading to date of Foote's masterwork, The Civi
Unpaid Annotation
Ken Burns, creator of the television documentary The Civil War, has called Shelby Foote a "national treasure." Foote, whose appearances on the program helped solidify its phenomenal success, earned a reputation among the general public as one of the nation's leading Civil War historians. His three-volume history of the Civil War is considered by some to be among the most engaging treatments of the conflict to date-Walker Percy called it "an American Illiad"-and his novels, which straddle the line between fiction and history, have drawn both accolades and controversy. Despite such widespread recognition of Foote's work, reception by some in the scholarly community has been lukewarm; historians dismiss his lively narratives as literary, while literary critics tend to view his exhaustively researched works as historical. In Shelby Foote and the Art of History: Two Gates to the City, James Panabaker argues that Foote is one of a rare breed of artists, capable of combining the tools and sensibilities of a writer of modernist fiction with the discipline of a historian. As a result, the author argues, Foote is able to view his native South and its history in ways unavailable to writers from the Southern Renaissance such as William Faulkner, who clung to the mythologized version of southern culture. Panabaker examines several key influences on Foote's development as a writer and historian, from his upbringing in the progressive southern town of Greenville, Mississippi, and his relationship with William Alexander Percy to the inescapable shadow of Faulkner. The collision between the South's chivalric ethos and Foote's modernist skepticism was also significant in forming his particular literary vision, which was often concerned not so much with defining "southernness" as with presenting characters caught in webs of opposing values. Also included is the most extensive reading to date of Foote's masterwork, The Civil War: A Narrative. Using Foote's novel Shiloh as a point of departure, Panabaker discusses how Foote successfully transferred his fictional techniques and thematic concerns to the writing of a modern epic. The historian and the writer, Foote has said, are both in search of truth-"the same truth." In The Civil War, Panabaker argues, Foote achieves "truth" through a novelist's unflagging commitment to record history at its most human level.
Table of Contents
"The condition of the tournament" : Foote, Faulkner, and the matter of the Southp. 1
Jordan County : the South and the birth of the Modernp. 29
The aesthetics of limitation : event, memory, and narrativep. 71
Writing the American Iliad : character in the Civil Warp. 113
Writing the American Iliad : narrative strategies in the Civil Warp. 165
Conclusion : "the painter's eye is not a lens, it trembles to caress the light"p. 213
A novelist's historiographyp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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