Interrupting the silences in twentieth century Southern women's literature: recovering and re-visioning the life and literary work of Caroline Pafford Miller




Peña, Debra D.

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In this study, I examine the reasons Caroline Miller, author of the novel Lamb in His Bosom (winner of both the 1934 Pulitzer Prize and the Prix Femina Vie Heurcusse ) and Lebanon (published in 1944 and now out of print) has all but fallen into obscurity and argue that though Miller's work has been labeled a regional accomplishment and relevant, minimally, to studies of the U.S. South might account, in part, for her erasure from American literature in general, it does not explain her absence from studies focused on local color or regional writing of the Southern United States or of Southern women writers. Although winning a Pulitzer does not necessarily ensure or warrant continued popularity of any writer, that Miller was the first Georgia woman writer to win the Pulitzer significantly highlights the absence of her name in current feminist critical studies of Southern women writers, as well as studies that specifically name Georgia-Pulitzer-prize-winning novelists, and suggests more than mere oversight. I argue that Miller's absence stems from two primary reasons: (1) Miller's writing and life challenged Southern literary and cultural notions of "place" by making public the private matters of her history, as well as Georgia History and (2) Lamb in His Bosom's feminine narrative, as defined by and in opposition to Agrarian notions of "masculine" literature assured the erasure of both Miller and her novel from studies of Southern literature, as well as many other authors and novels yet recovered.


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American Literature, Southern Literature, Southern Renaissance, Southern Women Writers, Southern Women's Literature, Women's Literature