“I have been so many people…”: A Study of Lee Smith’s Novels

By , May 14, 2014 10:10 am

I Have Been Cover ImageReleasing June 2014

“I have been so many people…”: A Study of Lee Smith’s Novels is a comprehensive analysis of all of Lee Smith’s fiction up through her 2006 novel, On Agate Hill, including her short stories. Smith’s body of work examines the influence of significant factors—such as place, memory, art, tradition, social expectation, media, religion, history, and story—on personal identity. Enriching her treatment of the subject, she explores this issue always with a consciousness of the self’s ultimate indeterminability. In twelve novels and four collections of short stories, Smith draws us into a rigorous exploration of the self, the location and essence of which are often sought in a landscape of shifting and imagined markers. This study argues that Smith’s fiction examines the psychological challenges of living in a society that is, on some level, “rootless.” Using post-structuralist theory and narratology, Bennett elucidates Smith’s unique narrative explorations of identity. She argues that Smith has made an important contribution to Southern literature, in her consistent focus on the Southerner’s post-Civil War self-conflict, and to contemporary literature in general.

Tanya Long Bennett is a professor of English at University of North Georgia, where she has taught for thirteen years. She earned her PhD in English at University of Tennessee. Her research focuses on twentieth and twenty-first century fiction, as well as gender studies.

-trim size:
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: 978-1-940771-07-6

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