THE CHRIST-HAUNTED LANDSCAPE

Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction

Susan Ketchin

Here are Susan Ketchin’s discerning interviews with twelve southerners living and writing in the South, and along with a piece of fiction by each are her penetrating commentaries about the impact of southern religious experience on their work.

A little more than a generation ago Flannery O’Connor made a startling observation about herself and her fellow southerners: “By and large,” she said, “people in the South still conceive of humanity in theological terms. While the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted. The Southerner who isn’t convinced of it is very much afraid that he may have been formed in the image and likeness of God.”

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Here are Susan Ketchin’s discerning interviews with twelve southerners living and writing in the South, and along with a piece of fiction by each are her penetrating commentaries about the impact of southern religious experience on their work.

A little more than a generation ago Flannery O’Connor made a startling observation about herself and her fellow southerners: “By and large,” she said, “people in the South still conceive of humanity in theological terms. While the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted. The Southerner who isn’t convinced of it is very much afraid that he may have been formed in the image and likeness of God.”

Guided by O’Connor’s perceptive commentary about southerners in general, Susan Ketchin has created a deeply revealing collection that mirrors the pervasive role of religion in the literature by the recent generation of notable southern writers. Ketchin confirms that “old-time religion” remains a potent force in the literature of the contemporary South.

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  • University of Mississippi Press
  • Paperback
  • January 2004
  • 432 Pages
  • 9780878056705

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About Susan Ketchin

Susan Cathcart Ketchin’s experience in writing, teaching, and publishing includes her posts as Editor of The St. Andrews Review, Fiction Editor for Southern Exposure Magazine at the Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, NC, and Associate and Fiction Editor for DoubleTake Magazine at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. She has served as Associate Editor at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, and Editor for the Fiction Series, University Press of Mississippi. In 1978, Ketchin established an editorial consulting service, Renascence Literary Services, which she now runs from her office in Beaufort, NC.

Praise

“While the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted. The Southerner who isn’t convinced of it is very much afraid that he may have been formed in the image and likeness of God.”Flannery O’Connor

“To be able to welcome others into your stories years after you’re just so much fog on a coffin lid, that surely constitutes as sweet a state of grace as I can imagine.”Allan Gurganus, author of White People

Discussion Questions