Barry Hannah, postmodern romantic by Ruth D. Weston

By Ruth D. Weston

A thematic journey of the total works from this unheard of southern author

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For those southerners who carry the additional burden of a keen sense of cultural history, as Hannah surely does, both the fact of the South's defeat in the Civil War and the traditional versus evolving cultural expectations based on codes of class, race, and gender often complicate the search for a secure sense of self; the resulting complications are reflected in his fiction. Hannah's generation, after all, grew up with Vietnam as well as with the civil rights and feminist movements. Almost all of his stories, especially from Airships forward, are informed by war.

Ian Reid, "Destabilizing Frames for Story," in Short Story Theory at a Crossroads, ed. Susan Lohafer and Jo Ellyn Clarey (Baton Rouge, 1989), 302309; Thomas M. , 146. " The lyric story can also be identified by what Austin M. Wright calls its "recalcitrance," that is, a built-in structure of obstacles to the quick comprehension of a story's meanings. 4 Recalcitrance is closely related to reticence, a term that Eudora Welty uses to discuss stories that are "opaque by reason of [an author's] intention," she says, citing the subtleties of, for example, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner.

18 That Hannah is still concerned with adolescent initiation in Bats Out of Hell is apparent in "Nicodemus Bluff," a story selected by Anne Tyler for inclusion in Shannon Ravenel's collection of the South's best short stories published from 1986 to 1995. " The narrator of "Nicodemus Bluff," Harris Greeves, looks back from midlife on the events that transpired when he was the ten-year-old "little Harris" who had been allowed to accompany a group of men to a deer camp in Arkansas.

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