Southern literature vs. Southern fiction

Wikipedia's definition of Southern Literature references an article by Patricia Evans that appears on a server at James Madison University. It sez:

Southern literature (sometimes called the literature of the American South) is defined as American literature about the Southern United States or by writers from this region.

Characteristics of Southern literature include a focus on

--a common Southern history
--the significance of family
--a sense of community and one’s role within it
--the region's dominant religion (Christianity — see Protestantism)
--the burdens/rewards religion often brings
--issues of racial tension
--land and the promise it brings
--a sense of social class and place
--the use of the Southern dialect

Jerry Leath Mills is reportedly the origin of the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. (What makes Southern literature Southern? It has a dead mule in it.)

Mills' tongue-in-cheek scholarship on the subject appeared in "Equine Gothic: The Dead Mule as Generic Signifier in Southern Literature in the 20th Century," which appeared in the 1990s in The Southern Literary Journal.

Mills' work apparently inspired other researchers to seek "generic signifiers" in every other kind of literature, from New England to the Midwest, from Jewish to French, from feminist to romance, according to Peter Applebome at the New York Times.

Oh, well. Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. And sometimes ends up being fun! Or at least interesting.

Or not.

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