Renaissance in Charleston: Art and Life in the Carolina Low Country, 1900-1940. The University of Georgia Press (2003). xi + 259pp. including index. 6.25 x 9.25 inches. Hardcover. Illustrated. ISBN-10: 0-8203-2518-X. ISBN-13: 978-0-8203-2518-7.
Beginning in 1920 and continuing through World War II, the city of Charleston, South Carolina, underwent an unprecedented cultural revival. The city's literary, artistic and institutional flowering both anticipated and helped precipitate similar movements that collectively came to be known as the Southern Renaissance. This volume reveals the richness and complexity of the Charleston Renaissance and its place among wider trends and events of the day.
Presenting a long overdue assessment of this literary and artistic movement, Renaissance in Charleston re-creates the historical, social, economic, and political contexts through which its central participants moved. Discussed are such figures as John Bennett, Josephine Pinckney, Beatrice Ravenel, DuBose Heyward, Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Elizabeth O'Neill Verner, Alfred Hutty, Julia Peterkin Laura Bragg, and Edwin A. Harleston.
The essays tell how these and other individuals faced the tensions and contradictions of their time and place. While some traced their lineage back to the city's first families, others were relative newcomers. Some broke new ground racially and sexually as well as artistically; others perpetuated the myths of the Old South. Some were censured at home but praised in New York, London, and Paris. The essays also underscore the significance and growth of such cultural institutions as the Poetry Society of South Carolina, the Charleston Museum, and he Gibbes Art Gallery.
A generation after the passing of most artists and writers involved in the Charleston Renaissance, a new generation of scholars has finally come to terms with its legacy.
James M. Hutchisson is a professor of English at The Citadel. His books include
Harlan Greene has served as assistant director of the South Carolina Historical Society and director of the North Carolina Preservation Consortium. Now with the Charleston Public Library, he is the author of
and the novels
Jacket Illustration: Anna Heyward Taylor, 1879-1956, Gaden on he Head!, circa 1925, color wood-block print: 11 x 8 inches. Collection of the Greenville County Museum of Art. Museum Purchase.
Jacket design: Erin Kirk New.
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