This course presents four writers whose literary careers were shaped by their respective attempts to represent Southern experience. While each of these writers has gained a considerable reputation as an American writer, the South resonates in their voices, mediates their vision. What each writer confronts, finally, is Southern history as burden and source, convention and curse. This course will explore the myths and cultural codes that foreground life in the South (particularly after the Civil War). We will then proceed towards an examination of how the writers in the course frame Southern experience, given their differences in race, class, and gender. Works to be read include Absalom, Absalom, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Black Boy, and The Wide Net and Other Stories. Coursework will consist of two critical essays and a final group project.