The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980

Book Reviews

Barclay, George Simpson, and Joseph Doyle; it melds in retrievable in-
formation about others, particularly the women. The whole, having
ostensible local appeal, also presents a story which has broader, regional
significance. North of Texas and west of the Middle Border few, if any,
comparable colonies survived in the Great Plains in 1850.
If the book has a fault it is its inclusion of many characters whose
names the index occasionally omits. It is a good book in keeping with
the quality produced by the University of Oklahoma Press.
Colorado State University CHARLES BAYARD
Southern Writers: A Biographical Dictionary. Edited by Robert Bain,
Joseph M. Flora, and Louis D. Rubin, Jr. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press, 1979. Pp. xxvii+515. Preface, Biographical
sketches. Paperback, $7.95; hardback, $30.)
Any region is fortunate indeed to have so perceptively indefatigable
a commentator and critic as Louis D. Rubin, Jr., represent its writings
to a larger world. Again Rubin and, this time, his co-editors Joseph M.
Flora and Robert Bain have provided a valuable resource for scholars
of the southern literary and cultural scene. Their biographical dic-
tionary offers sketches of 379 southern writers represented by 172 schol-
ars. Ranging in length from 1,ooo to 300 words-depending upon the
importance of the writers as judged by the editors-the alphabetically
arranged offerings embrace the historical, geographical, and racial
gamut of those who have written about their region.
Through their work the editors have provided a convenient form for
summarizing the lives and contributions of the known, little-known,
and obscure writers of the South. They correctly judge when they hy-
pothesize that "the so-called 'minor' figures would be perhaps the most
important group in the book [since it is they] for whom reliable bio-
graphical material is least available" (p. xxv). One expects and finds
accurately concise accounts of the lives and careers of nationally recog-
nized southern writers. But it is with pleased satisfaction that one reads
the biographical sketches of writers as diverse as Zora Neale Hurston,
Caroline Miller, Jean (Nathan Eugene) Toomer, Frances Newman,
"Ellen Douglas" (Josephine Ayres Haxton), and a host of even lesser
known representatives of fine southern writing. Too long has informa-
tion about them been either diffuse or obscure.
In their preface the editors caution that their judgments concerning
inclusion and exclusion of individual writers were ultimately sub-

419

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/. Accessed December 18, 2014.