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A Large & Startling Figure

The Harry Crews Online Bibliography

Theses & Dissertations

The Idea of Florida in Contemporary American Literature:
A Study of Four Florida Writers.
Abel, Carol Jackson.
Unpublished master's thesis.
Florida State University, Tallahassee, 1991.

Harry Crews, Donald Justice, Padgett Powell, Joy Williams.

Romany Harryho Crewse
(Czechoslovakian: Novels of Harry Crews).
Arbeit, Marcel.
Doctorial dissertation.
Palacky University, Olomouc (Czech Republic), 1994.

Harry Crews: The Atmosphere of Failure.
Austin, Wade.
Doctorial dissertation.
Middle Tennessee State University, 1983.

Abstract: "Harry Crews is the author of eight novels, all of which are set in the New South of the 1960s and 1970s, an autobiography of his early life, a collection of magazine pieces, and a collection of nonfiction pieces and excerpts from some of his novels. Although he disparages the term 'Southern Writer,' he is very much a writer of the South. He was born in Georgia and lives now in Gainesville, Florida. When he talks and when he writes, Harry Crews has a strong 'sense of place' for the South. Out of that 'sense of place,' he develops his major theme—the failure of the New South to offer its people a sense of value in its religion, rituals and ceremonies, and in its community life.

"Chapter I of this study traces the influences on Crews' work from his early life in rural Georgia through his stay at the University of Florida to his exposure to literary figures, especially such "sense of place" writers as Flannery O'Connor. This chapter also shows the relationship between the writers of what has been called the Southern Renaissance and Harry Crews' work. The Southern Renaissance writers, such as Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, and William Faulkner, writing between 1930 and 1955, warned that the South was in danger of losing its regional identity because it failed to develop a 'fitting religion' and sustain its traditional rites and ceremonies centered in the home and in the community. Harry Crews' novels show the devastating effects of this failure on the society.

"Chapter II examines Crews' first three novels: The Gospel Singer, Naked in Garden Hills, and This Thing Don't Lead to Heaven. These novels explore the failure of religion to provide meaning in people's lives. In The Gospel Singer, the people worship the illusion of religion in a person who sings religious songs; Naked in Garden Hills is an allegory of the failure of faith; and This Thing Don't Lead to Heaven concerns the failure of religion to provide comfort in life and death situations. "Chapter III examines three novels in which characters pursue ritual exercises in attempting to find meaning in their lives . . . ."

The Driving Machine: Automobility and American Literature.
Casey, Roger Neal.
Doctorial dissertation.
Florida State University, Tallahassee, 1991.

Abstract: "In Mythologies Roland Barthes contends that automobiles have been 'consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriated them as a purely magical object.' The Driving Machine explores how this magical object has been appropriated into the myth of American literature by foregrounding and scrutinizing the presence of the automobile in the works of selected writers: principally, Lewis, Fitzgerald, Sinclair, Steinbeck, Caldwell, Faulkner, Kerouac, O'Connor, Updike, Bontemps, Ellison, Wright, Doctorow, Crews, and Joy Williams.

"The automobile unites the American fundamentals of individualism and movement—auto-mobility—and the study first examines the literary groundwork for automobility prior to the invention of the car. Next, Lewis's works prove particularly instructive in tracing an evolution from the romantic appeal of the automobile during its early years to an increasing use of the vehicle to satirize conspicuous consumption. Writers began to scrutinize the view of car as liberator of the masses (a view championed by Ford) to expose the realities of mass production and assembly-line technology.

"By the thirties, the car had become essential to most Americans, such as Steinbeck's Joads, and had transfigured the rural landscape, as evidenced in Caldwell and Faulkner. During this period the car attained increasingly complex signification, finding itself the center of an intricate relationship of attraction and repulsion. After World War II, the automobile assumed mythical prominence, as in Kerouac's On the Road; however, the social revolution of the sixties and seventies replaced this exalted image with an image of car as polluter and murderer. The oil crises of the 1970s dealt a final blow. Updike grasps these manifold changes in his Rabbit tetralogy.

"At the close of the century, Americans view the car with ambiguity and complexity, contemplating the difficult choice of reconciliation or life without vehicles. Literary responses to automobility have never been so multifarious. Works such as Harry Crews's Car and Joy Williams's Escapes present the paradoxical role automobility assumes in our present lives."

Harry Crews on America:
Drinking, Violence, and the American Dream in His Journalistic Essays.
Creel, Thomas Gill.
Unpublished master's thesis.
Tulane University, New Orleans, 1991.

Agrarian Prophecy and the Displaced Southerner:
The Grit Emigre in Harry Crews' Fiction.
Guinn, Matthew W.
Unpublished master's thesis.
University of Mississippi, 1995.

The Tarnished Icon:
Myth and History in Post-Renascence Southern Fiction (Naturalism).
Guinn, Matthew Wendell.
Doctoral Dissertation.
University Of South Carolina, 1998

Abstract: "This study focuses on the discontinuities between contemporary southern literature and Renascence fiction. Central to my thesis is the manner in which many of the best contemporary southern novelists seem to work against the motifs and conventions of Southern Renascence fiction, to protest the modernist icons of southern cultural and historical mythology. This resistance, broadly speaking, takes two forms. One is a resurgence of naturalism in southern fiction; the other is what I call the literature of 'mythoclasm'—the self-conscious inversion or parodic representation of traditional southern themes and cultural fixtures. The authors considered in the study fall into these two groups: Dorothy Allison, Larry Brown, and Harry Crews are the neo-naturalists; and Richard Ford, Barry Hannah, and Cormac McCarthy are the antagonists of myth. Both modes of resistance are currently taking southern letters in new directions, and I hope that the dissertation will reflect these writers' intrepid perspectives by expanding upon the traditional techniques of southern criticism—by augmenting intellectual history with postmodern considerations of class, gender, and cultural mythology."

Race, Class and Sex in the "White Trash" Novels of Dorothy Allison and Harry Crews.
Holston, Loretta J.
Unpublished master's thesis.
University of Southern Mississippi, 1996.

Survival is Triumph Enough:
Harry Crews and the Portrait of the Poor White Southerner.
Judas, Frank P.
Unpublished master's thesis.
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, April 2000.

An introductory guide for students and scholars unfamiliar with Crews's work.

Everyone Goes around Acting Crazy:
A Study of Recent American Hard-Core Naturalists (West, Caldwell, Purdy, Kosinski, Sheen).
Kich, Martin.
Doctoral dissertation.
Lehigh University, 1989.

Abstract: "Hard-Core Naturalism is a movement including such writers as Nathanael West, Erskine Caldwell, John O'Hara, James Purdy, Hubert Selby, Jr., Harry Crews, Jerzy Kosinski, and Barbara Sheen. These writers recognize that anarchic sexual violence is a salient characteristic of our century—in fact, so salient that on many levels pleasure rather than revulsion must be our more frequent reaction to our meanness. While the writers of hard-boiled fictions exploit this perception and the major romantic naturalists simultaneously confront it and compensate for it, the Hard-Core Naturalists attempt simply to represent it in a way that might still affect us deeply in our century of Armageddons and holocausts. In their own ways, all of these writers use peculiar characters to suggest broader complexities and use incident rather than process as a spatial and temporal reference point. They approach a central, universal horror from many cultural perspectives that, paradoxically, enrich the detailing of that horror while suggesting the limitations on our ability to grasp it.

"These writers have been ignored unfairly because what is relentless in their visions has been read as remorseless, and because any limitations that they have as craftsmen have been read as the result of their trying to depict too little of what characterizes us, rather than as the result of their trying to depict what so consistently prevents us from being more than ourselves. They have been criticized for a lack of thoughtfulness because they have been perceptive enough to see no more tangible value in it than in any other faculty. They see us humanly rather than humanistically. These writers are trying to convince us, through literature, of realities that literature and an audience that has time for literature cannot touch. And this purpose raises their fictions above the hard-boiled kind, even as the seeming impossibility of achieving it becomes very apparent at some crucial points in their fictions. Still, the underlying problem with the fictions of the Hard-Core Naturalists is not that they inevitably dead-end, but, rather, that they have been consistently so open-ended as to seem always lacking the completeness that characterizes major literature."

A Comical Treatment of the Grotesque by Three Southern Writers:
Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor and Harry Crews.
Lamb, Carol E.
Unpublished master's thesis.
Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts, 1983.

Held at the Master's Thesis Collection, Clement C. Maxwell Library.

Harry Crews' South.
Lynskey, Edward C.
Unpublished master's thesis.
George Mason University, 1984.

The Body Shop:
The Politics and Poetics of Transformation (Toni Morrison, Anne Rice, Katherine Dunn, Harry Crews, Fay Weldon, Angela Carter).
Nardone, Laurie Ann.
Doctoral dissertation.
Emory University, 1997.

Abstract: "The transformation of the female body in English and American literature reflects Western culture's fascination with the possibility of an ideal body. Witnessed in the concept of the 'body shop,' both as a metaphorical a rid literal location in which consumers might achieve the ideal, women are inundated with images of perfect bodies through film, television, advertising, and fashion. This pervasive image of perfection all too often compels women to transform their bodies as objects, and in doing so, these women relinquish their powers of agency. However, some women use body transformations to gain a subject position and assert their own powerful agency, enabling other women to critique and undermine the postured and culturally-pervasive 'ideal.'

"In this project, I investigate six contemporary novels that offer this possibility: Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, Katherine Dunn's Geek Love, Harry Crews's Body, Fay Weldon's The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, and Angela Carter's The Passion of a New Eve. In each of these texts at least one character's body is radically, and usually, literally, transformed, highlighting the ever-problematic position of the female body in postmodern fiction. In these novels the transformation of the female body offers readers alternative responses to the female ideal. While each novel encourages reader engagement with different levels of success, each author invokes elements of a postmodern poetics to suggest a feminist politics.

"In tracing the radical transformation of the female body in contemporary fiction, I am struck by the intimate link between politics and poetics. In the novels I investigate here, each author writes the female body to suggest a powerfully positive feminist stance. This stance, while articulated through the body, is complicated and confused precisely in terms of the body's boundaries. That is, the body's radical transformation, in and of itself, creates an unstable environment in these novels, preventing readers from identifying an absolute politics. These authors encourage readers to see the body as a complex process, clarifying the initial body confusion in their novels and emphasizing a feminist politics through a postmodern poetic practice."

Binary Tensions in the Nine Novels of Harry Crews
Patty, Steve Lawrence.
Unpublished master's thesis.
University of Alabama, Huntsville, 1987.

Harry Crews: A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography.
Sauve, Damon.
Unpublished master's thesis, 81 pages.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1996 December.
Advisor: Elfreda A. Chatman.

Abstract: "This bibliography, a comprehensive and annotated listing of works written by and about the author Harry Crews, is intended to aid scholars and the general enthusiast in the pursuit of Crews's work. A partial biography of Crews provides a brief introduction to the author. Two previous bibliographies, Daniel H. Gann's 'Harry Crews: A Bibliography' and Michael Hargraves' Harry Crews: A Bibliography, are examined to establish their respective strengths and weaknesses and to assess the viability of a third bibliography. A discussion of the search methodology indicates which print sources and electronic databases were accessed in the bibliography's compilation. The bibliography is composed of twelve sections: Novels, Non-Fiction, Periodical Contributions, Anthologized Works, Multi-Media, 'Blood Issue,' Book Blurbs, Interviews, Critical Literature, Theses and Dissertations, Reference, and Miscellany. A discussion preceding the bibliography explains each section's contents, relation to the earlier bibliographies, selection criteria, and provides any background information not explicated in the annotations."

[This Harry Crews Bibliography is the electronic counterpart, perpetually updated, to the master's thesis.]

Locating the Self:
Southern Identity, White Masculinity, and the Autobiographical "I" (White Men).
Watkins, James Hull.
Doctoral dissertation.
University of Florida, Gainesville, 1995.

Abstract: "Southern white men have long embraced a regional identity that is marked by 'difference' from other forms of American masculinity. A specific set of cultural assumptions has played a part in constructing this difference. This dissertation examines the autobiographical discourse of white male writers in the American South from the Colonial period to the present and positions that discourse in relation to the nationally dominant New England tradition of male self-portraiture. The autobiographers I examine typically eschew autonomous individualism in favor of community-based honor and a more relational or organic conception of self and society. They rarely treat their 'whiteness' as transparent, obvious, or universal, and their masculinity is 'feminized' in regionally specific ways. These differences have resulted in their canonical exclusion.

"Chapter One examines the usefulness of contemporary autobiography theory for this study, arguing that the most helpful are those that theorize marginal autobiographical identities. Chapter Two explores the historical conditions and specific cultural assumptions that have led white southerners to resist nationally dominant models of selfhood and self-representation. The subsequent chapters recover and analyze this tradition.

"William Byrd's Histories of the Dividing Line reveals the early existence of an honor-based model of selfhood in the South. The nineteenth-century autobiographies of William J. Grayson and Richard Taylor use relational strategies of self-representation to resist northern cultural hegemony. However, Mark Twain uses his southern identity to authorize his critique of the Lost Cause myth and position himself as a 'national' rather than a regional writer. Twentieth-century autobiographers challenge the constraints of the tradition even further. During the Southern Renaissance, poet William Alexander Percy yokes together the discourses of southern identity and artistic selfhood to allow for more interiority. In the Civil Rights era, Willie Morris and other southern white liberals write confessional narratives which inscribe an individual conscience. In the 1970s, 'redneck' autobiographers Harry Crews and Will Campbell deploy their class identification to authorize their accounts and to expand the definitions of the South and the southerner."

Sexual Salvation:
Men, Women, and Identity in Three Novels by Harry Crews.
Weaver, Angela Kaye.
Unpublished master's thesis.
University of Georgia, 1995.
Director: James Kilgo.

Movement toward Continuity:
The Body's Ordeal in the Novels of Harry Crews.
Ysaguirre, Angel Michell.
Unpublished master's thesis.
University of Mississippi, 1996.

A Large & Startling Figure: The Harry Crews Online Bibliography
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