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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

jective. Such a reality is difficult to counter. Yet their work lacks literary
balance. Too many antebellum eclectics are included, individuals who,
upon an occasion or two, bethought themselves to wield a pen. The
justification for including a sketch of Mirabeau B. Lamar merely be-
cause he published Verse Memorial "complimenting women and cele-
brating occasions" (p. 268) seems slight. Why include a Richard Dabney,
whose one work, Poems, Original and Translated, led his biographer to
concede that "[he] must be regarded as a poet and translator of modest
ability who did not realize his promise" (p. 1 lo)?
The inclusion of such questionable writers weakens the biography in
two ways: first, reputations of serious writers are diminished at least
by association, and second, significant modern writers seem conse-
quently to have been excluded. Was Harry Crews, a prolific and na-
tionally recognized southern writer, made to defer to a George Washing-
ton Parke Custis? Did contributions by worthy Texas writers such as
Horton Foote, John Graves, or Jewel H. Gibson pale in the strong light
of luminaries such as William Eddis, Isaac Harby, or Daniel Dulany the,
Elder? If more strictly defined literary and cultural criteria had been
judiciously applied, the entire work might have provided a better bal-
anced index to the regional significance of individual southern writers.
Yet judgmental reservations notwithstanding, Southern Writers: A
Biographical Dictionary is a valuable and important book. It is a long-
needed basic source for anyone interested in southern literature and
culture. The editors are to be commended for their initiative in or-
ganizing and compiling such an accessible and coherent reference.
Luther College HARVEY KLEVAR
Zufii: Selected Writings of Frank Hamilton Cushing. Edited by Jesse
Green. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979. Pp. xiv+440.
Foreword, editor's introduction, illustrations, map. $16.95.)
Frank Hamilton Cushing was a significant figure in the development
of anthropology in North America during the late nineteenth century.
His archaeological research in the Southwest and in Florida has often
been singled out as a key element in the transition of archaeology from
a speculative, descriptive endeavor to one with a more scientific concern
for classification and explanation. G. R. Willey and J. Sabloff, in A His-
tory of American Archaeology (1973; p. 114), credit Cushing with early
applications of the "direct historical approach," particularly in his
studies designed to interpret the function of prehistoric artifact forms


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed March 6, 2015.