Southern Literature is a genre of American literature that is set in the Southern United States and contains elements of regional culture, history, and dialect. It is closely associated with the literature of the American South and has its roots in the works of early authors such as William Faulkner, Mark Twain, and Eudora Welty. This genre often centers around themes of racial inequality, family relations, religion, loss/grief/recovery, poverty/hardship, war/violence/conflict resolution or southern hospitality. Southern Literature typically features strong characterization and vivid descriptions of landscapes and settings that evoke a sense of place. The earliest examples of Southern Literature date back to the 17th century when English settlers first began arriving in what is now known as the United States. These writers wrote about their experiences in adapting to an unfamiliar environment while trying to remain true to their own cultural values. This led to some unique work such as Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State Of Virginia which discussed slavery from both sides with an eye towards reconciliation between races; poems from Phillis Wheatley depicting her experience as a slave; and novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe which showed how slavery could be abolished without resorting to violence or war. As America entered into conflict over civil rights during Reconstruction following the Civil War (1861-1865), many Southern writers continued writing about society’s struggles while also exploring themes related to racism such as William Faulkner’s Light In August or Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird which both dealt with racial injustice. The 20th century saw a rise in contemporary works by African-American authors dealing with topics ranging from identity politics (Alice Walker’s The Color Purple) to crime fiction (Walter Mosley’s Devil In A Blue Dress). Even today many novelists are exploring issues related to race including Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage The Bones which deals with class dynamics during Hurricane Katrina or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing which follows two branches of an African family across continents over centuries. Southern Literature has endured for centuries because it captures not only regional differences but also universal truths about human experience that can be understood regardless of one’s background or identity. It continues to evolve even today by bringing together elements from different cultures and histories into stories that still resonate with readers everywhere.
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