Siân Round is a PhD candidate in American Literature at Jesus College, Cambridge. Her research on the US South explores the transatlantic influence, circulation, and reception of interwar literary magazines, as well as the ways that British and European authors were presented in these magazines. Her work thus reevaluates the role that periodicals played in the emergence of the (idea of a) Southern Renaissance and the impact this had on Southern literature throughout the twentieth century. Siân holds a BA from Durham University, where she wrote a dissertation on the British reception of William Faulkner, and a Masters from Oxford, having completed a dissertation on Conceptualisations of Europe in the Journalism and Fiction of Lillian Smith.

Book Review: A Literate South: Reading Before Emancipation by Beth Barton Schweiger

‘Culture is ordinary: that is where we must start.’ Raymond Williams’ famous statement provides an epigraph to Beth Barton Schweiger’s important study of reading in the antebellum South, A Literate South: Reading Before Emancipation. Barton Schweiger builds on Williams’ statement to provide a bank of evidence that culture was, indeed, ordinary, in the rural antebellum South. Using two chief examples, the diaries of two families, the Cooleys in Virginia and the Speers in North Carolina, Schweiger uncovers how reading and printed materials were important parts of Southern culture, and how this is often ignored in studies of the period. Continue reading