Mr. Skylark: John Bennett and the Charleston Renaissance (Paperback)Harlan Greene (author)
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Based on years of research and thousands of notes left by John Bennett, Mr. Skylark is an unusually intimate biography of a pivotal figure in the Charleston Renaissance, the brief period between the two World Wars that first witnessed many of the cultural and artistic changes soon to sweep the South. The book not only examines Bennett's life but also reveals the rich tapestry of the literary and social history of Charleston.
An outsider who became an insider by marrying into the local aristocracy, Bennett was perfectly placed to observe social and artistic change and to prompt it. He published the first scholarly treatise on Gullah, the language of the coastal Southern blacks, and collected African American spirituals and tales. But after breaking several racial taboos of the time, he was publicly condemned, and it was only through mentoring such writers as Hervey Allen and DuBose Heyward that he was eventually welcomed back into the heart of the city.
Today, the Charleston aesthetic, which mourned the loss of beauty in a modernizing South, is often overlooked in the study of Southern literature, but Bennett, through his extensive private correspondence and notes, offers insight into the forces that shaped this cultural movement. Restored to us in all his complexity and humor, Bennett is important for his own accomplishments, but also for providing a lens through which to view southern literary history and the complexities of a changing South.
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Number of pages: 408
Weight: 594 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
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