U.S. Intellectual History Blog

A Retrospective on the Southern Intellectual History Circle, 1988–2013

I am pleased to post the following from Michael O’Brien, Professor of American Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge. This was originally the keynote lecture O’Brien delivered on February 21, 2013 at Mercer University, at the 25th annual meeting of the Southern Intellectual History Circle, a group O’Brien helped to found in the late 1980s. Readers here will particularly enjoy O’Brien’s discussion of how a scholarly community dedicated to intellectual history developed and functioned, his reflections on Eugene Genovese, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, C. Vann Woodward, and Bertram Wyatt-Brown, and his thoughts on the relationship of intellectual history to other subfields and disciplines.

When in Tuscaloosa two years ago, it was put to me that, since the twenty-fifth anniversary of Southern Intellectual History Circle would occur in 2013, it might be a good idea for me to give the main lecture and therein reminisce, upon the impeccable reasoning that this is a significant anniversary and — though this was not explicit in the suggestion — I am a survivor of a vanished order, hurrying towards oblivion and silence.

So some words, first, about the origins of the Southern Intellectual History Circle. There is no especial reason why many of you, perhaps even including those who have begun to attend these meetings in recent years, will know where, when, and how the Circle was invented and first took shape. So I thought I might render a service by sketching a few aspects of its earlier history.

As it happens, I possess an archive of sorts, folders for each of the meetings until I ceased to be actively engaged in organizing the Circle’s affairs, which was after the meeting at Harvard in 2006, as well copies of other correspondence with sundry historians and others. So, diligent as I am, I have examined these documents, for the first time since they were first casually put into the folders. It has been a curious experience.

This much, at least, I have been able to reconstruct, though also unreliably remember.

In 1987, I went to teach at Miami University in Ohio, after having been for seven years at the University of Arkansas. In my first semester, I was put on a committee, charged with selecting someone called the McClellan Lecturer. This was a historian, paid from an endowed fund, who would come and give a public lecture. It had usually been someone of public celebrity, or as close to public celebrity as historians get. So, someone like Arthur Schlesinger Jr. These lecturers were given a very large honorarium. I forget now how much. $5000? $10,000? But I do remember saying to the committee that this was a waste of money, that someone like Schlesinger was unlikely to say anything interesting or, at least, nothing that we had not heard before, and that I could get them ten historians, who would be more interesting, for less. To my surprise, they said I should do so. It was thought wise that one of the historians should be designated the McClellan Lecturer and paid — I find a budgetary document that gives the honorarium as $500 — but that everyone else should have only their expenses paid for participating in what was to be designated a McClellan Symposium. So, strictly speaking, this is not the twenty–fifth anniversary of the Southern Intellectual Circle, because that did not exist until 1989.

I had been appointed at Miami, in part because I was then writing about the intellectual history of the South, so it was natural that I chose that as the subject matter of the symposium. In assembling the participants, I drew on a mix of friends and acquaintances, plus one person I had never met. I started by asking Eugene Genovese to give the McClellan Lecture. I had known him since 1984. In January of that year, he and Elizabeth Fox–Genovese had visited C. Vann Woodward, who knew that I was finishing up a biography of Hugh Legaré. (This was in one of those fugitive periods, later in their lives, when Vann and Gene were on speaking terms.) The topic of my work seems to have come up and Vann wrote to me that they, the Genoveses, would be glad to look at my manuscript.1 Gene, at least, had read my 1982 anthology, All Clever Men, Who Make Their Way, and had me marked down as a promising co–worker in what he was then coming to regard as his new project, the intellectual history of the Old South, not a crowded field. So we exchanged letters, manuscripts, and off-prints, and thereafter our connection began to grow: a meeting at a convention in Los Angeles, an invitation to me to attend his conference on Southern conservatism at the National Humanities Center, an invitation to him to speak in Fayetteville, and so forth. I knew he and Betsey were beginning to work on what they were already calling “the mind of the master class,” so it seemed natural to ask him to give the McClellan Lecture, not least because I knew that he was not the sort of historian who would refuse, just because the fee was low. It was natural, too, to ask Betsey along.

Some of the other participants were self-evident choices, because they were among the handful of people who were then writing about the history of Southern thought.

Daniel Singal, whom I had known since the early 1970s when we had both worked in the Southern Historical Collection, and whose The War Within of 1982 was a very significant study of modern Southern thought

Richard King, whom I then knew less well, except through his 1980 book, A Southern Renaissance and his having been my trenchant critic at a session on my own first book, The Idea of the American South, at the Southern Historical Association in Louisville in 1981. “Trenchant” is a polite way of saying that Richard thought I was mostly talking nonsense.

Bertram Wyatt–Brown, whom I had begun to know in about 1984, who was working ingeniously at the intersection of intellectual, social, and literary history — “ingeniously” is a polite way of saying that I thought he was mostly talking nonsense — and with whom I had exchanged letters, mostly letters in which we agreed to disagree, and in which he deprecated my polemical violence, not without justice.

Drew Faust, whose A Sacred Circle, was arguably the first serious work on the intellectual life of the Old South in the generation after Clement Eaton — though Drew I barely knew, except through the odd brief encounter at sundry conventions.

Steven Stowe I did know, better than the others. In 1981, I had asked him to participate in the conference and subsequent book on the intellectual life of antebellum Charleston that David Moltke–Hansen and I were then working on. Steve and I met in Charleston and in New York, and by 1987 he had migrated to an adjacent state, Indiana. Of the names I have mentioned so far, he was the only one with whom I did not disagree and — this has never ceased to be true, at least on my own part — the Southern historian with whom I have felt most at ease aesthetically, though he appeals to the better angels of my style, since Steve seems to be incapable of polemical violence.

These were the paid–up Southern intellectual historians, but I had long been interested in a dialogue with Southern literary critics and historians, for two reasons. One was that my own path into intellectual history had come, less from an interest in philosophy — as was typical of young historians at Cambridge in my youth — but more from a preoccupation with fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. (T. S. Eliot mattered more to me than Wittgenstein.) The other was that, even in the mid–1980s, more intellectual history had been written by Southern literary scholars than by historians — though they did not use the term, “intellectual history” — and it would have been absurd not to have noticed this, both for the good it had done and the damage. (I was then acutely conscious of both.) Hence I invited along Anne Goodwyn Jones, who had rightly castigated Dan, Richard and (though only implicitly) myself for neglecting gender in a session on the Southern Renaissance at the OAH in Los Angeles in 1984, and whom I had once met, by design, at an airport — Pittsburgh, I think. She is certainly the only person who can have walked through an airport, while carrying aloft a copy of All Clever Men, Who Make Their Way. Then, too, I asked Michael Kreyling to participate. It was Dan who had drawn my attention to Michael’s revisionist work on Southern literary criticism — they had overlapped at Tulane for a while — and, reading Michael, I did recognize a kindred project, insofar as both of us were trying to get from under Allen Tate. But we had never met.

It is worth specifying, therefore, that I only turned to the younger generation of literary critics, not the older, in contradistinction to my approach to the Southern historians. I could, for example, have turned to Lewis Simpson, with whom I had had friendly relations since the early 1970s, but I was bluntly interested in encouraging the Young Turks of Southern literary studies. In general, I think, the generational quarrel in literary matters was then more deep–seated than in historical studies, because neo–Agrarianism had had an intellectual hegemony, greater than any single school of historical interpretation, and so a certain intellectual claustrophobia was commensurately greater. We younger intellectual historians of the South, by contrast, more or less ignored our immediate predecessors — that is, the likes of Clement Eaton and, much further down the pecking order, Rollin Osterweis — and relegated them to perfunctory footnotes. More remote ancestors, like Wilbur Cash, were a different matter.

One last name, that of James Turner. From the first, I presumed that the intellectual history of the South was part of the wider venture of American intellectual history, even if the American intellectual historians, almost unanimously then, did not think so. I knew that Jim shared this sense, even though he did not write about the South, because he had written to me, out of the blue, in 1981, because he had liked The Idea of the American South and because we shared a publisher, the Johns Hopkins Press. (It is probably not insignificant that four of us at the 1988 symposium were, at first, Hopkins authors: Drew, Jim, Steve, and myself.) I got another such letter in 1982, when the introduction to All Clever Men was published in the Intellectual History Newsletter, then being edited by Thomas Bender at NYU.2 So I asked him to Ohio, as a sort of representative of all the other American intellectual historians, someone who might usefully challenge the hyperbole and delusions of Southern exceptionalism.

One person was asked, who could not come — Fred Hobson, then editing the Southern Review. In fact, I am not sure he ever came, unless casually when, several times over the years, we met in Chapel Hill.

If I was speaking as a historian and not an autobiographer, what would I make of this cast of characters? Apart from Gene (then 58) and Bert (56), they were all born between 1941 and 1948, and so were all in their early or mid–40s. Of the eleven people, six were educated exclusively outside the South — Gene at Brooklyn College and Columbia — Betsey at the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris, Bryn Mawr, and Harvard –— Drew at Concord Academy, Bryn Mawr, and the University of Pennsylvania — Dan at Harvard and Columbia — Steve at California State–Long Beach and Stony Brook — Jim at Harvard. In four cases, there was a mix of Southern and non-Southern — for Bert, Sewanee, Cambridge, and Johns Hopkins — for Michael, Thomas More College in Kentucky and Cornell –— for Richard, the University of North Carolina, Yale, and the University of Virginia — and, strange to tell but also significant, me, at Cambridge but also Vanderbilt for a master’s degree. Only Anne had been educated exclusively in the South, at Hollins and UNC. Six were not Southerners, at all. (Although I will need to recur to the case of Bert, born in Pennsylvania, because it is intricate.) Of the five who might be regarded as Southerners (or close to it), most came from the edge of the South — Drew was born in New York, but grew up in the Shenandoah Valley — Michael is from northern Kentucky — Richard from eastern Tennessee — and Jim from Knoxville, though he grew up mostly in Dallas. (On Jim’s mother’s side, the family came from Livingston County, Kentucky, and once had an adequate supply of slaveowners and aged relatives who hated Republicans.)3 Only one, Anne, could be regarded as coming from deep within the South, though it is not usual to regard Chapel Hill as hardcore Southern, especially if you are from somewhere else in North Carolina. Lastly, of the eleven, only four were then teaching in the South (Betsey at Emory, Michael at Vanderbilt, Bert and Anne in Gainesville).

Does this mean anything? I think it does. It may suggest that Louis Rubin’s old suggestion that Southern literature is “a Piedmont art” and not a Low Country, Black Belt, or Delta enterprise may have something to it, though I tend to think not.4 However that may be, the McClellan symposium in 1988 and its successors were, in inception, partly ventures of non–Southerners, for whom the South was an object of interest or fascination, but not an identity. Though, over time, this alien quality was modified, because the Circle began to attract Southerners, it remains true that the Circle — or so I always thought — was persistently a site for a conversation between Southerners and non–Southerners, as well as a sort of refugee camp for those historians who, not being Southerners, were not always regarded as equals by the Southern powers–that–be or regarded as puzzling spectators of the main action. (Gene, after all, was never elected president of the Southern Historical Association, which is not a fact that speaks well of that association, since he was probably the leading Southern historian of his generation.) The Circle, by contrast, presumed that the Southerner and the non–Southerner had coequally a right to speak. However, it is probably also true that, over the years this conversation was necessarily asymmetrical. The Southerners spoke to and for their own culture, the non–Southerners (if they were lucky) to the South, but only subliminally for their own culture, in which the Southerners took little or no interest. So there never ceased to be an anthropological quality to how the non–Southerners approached Circle meetings, though I should perhaps add that the literary critics approached the historians in the same Margaret Mead manner and would often, I noticed, sit back and observe, with a faint smile, how this strange tribe sacrificed pigs to their ancestors.

Some of this need occasion little surprise. One of the great facts of the post–1960s historical scene was that the subject of Southern history became, no longer the introspective possession of white Southerners, but something that entered into a wider national and international discourse. It is my suspicion that this cultural moment is over or, at least, become something different. Then the non–Southerners sought out the South, because they felt it mattered. Doubtless this arose from the convergence of the South’s political and moral prominence, occasioned by the Civil Rights movement, and the remarkable efflorescence of Southern literature from the 1920s onwards. Now, or so I infer, the Southerners are occasionally seeking out the non–Southerners, because the global, the transnational, and the postcolonial are thought to be pertinent. The non–Southerners, however, are less interested than they used to be. To mention a parochial instance as evidence, when I took up an appointment at Cambridge in 2002, three of the four American historians on staff were interested in the South: Tony Badger, Betty Wood, and myself. When I retire in 2015, I would be surprised if any of the four was a Southern historian.

The mix at the Ohio meeting doubtless overstated this phenomenon of national and international interest in the South, because it was convened by a non–Southerner whose connections with Southerners were haphazard — and I am not sure ever became systematic. Fayetteville, Arkansas, was not an especially good place to develop such connections, since it, too, is at the edge of the South and not, as one non–Southerner who comes to the Circle once put it to me, “in the belly of the beast.” The mix in Ohio, however, did register current changes in gender relations in the academy. Three women out of eleven was about where gender ratios stood in the mid–1980s. What the mix, of course, did not register were changes in race — no black scholars were invited, doubtless because I did not know any then well, though also because the project of black intellectual history was then hardly launched and usually concerned itself with Harlem and Northern black culture, not the South. Later, matters changed, though not as much as I and others wished.

A few last things about the Ohio meeting. As you will know, one of the distinguishing features of the Circle is its custom of having two sessions of discussion on Saturday. This phenomenon occurred first, by accident, in Ohio. Miami was paying for the air fares of everyone, on a not extravagant budget, which meant everyone needed to stay overnight on Saturday. All the public sessions were on Thursday and Friday, so, the question necessarily arose, what to do with these people on Saturday? There is not a lot to do in southwestern Ohio — the occasional covered bridge, some nice trees, not much else, at least out of the baseball season. So I decided I would put them all in a room and let them talk to one another. I wrote to Gene in September 1987, “As to the Saturday, I am . . . looking for suggestions, lest the conversation merely drift into gossip. If there is a topic or topics, on which you would like to consult or hector the participants, could you tell me of it?”5 I find copies of another letter, sent to others, in which I observed, “I want the Saturday to have some structure, though not too much. What I suggest is that each participant broach a subject for conversation, something he or she wants to hear discussed.”6 That sentiment, “some structure, though not too much,” became, I think, a guiding principle of the Circle, though at first there were those who wanted us to mutate into a formal organization, with a president, committees, dues, perhaps an affiliation with one of the centers of Southern Studies then appearing, though I and others resisted all of that.7 Part of my instinct of resistance was a presumption that this group would necessarily be ephemeral and would meet for a few years, then expire. If you had told me then that I would be standing here now, twenty five years later, I would have been incredulous, indeed would have said that such persistence was probably unhealthy.

Towards the end of the talking on Saturday afternoon, since it all seemed to be going pretty well, I expressed the hope that we might do this again, sometime, somewhere. It was, or so I remember, Betsey who promptly said that it ought to be immediately, the next year. A few days after the symposium had adjourned, I wrote the following to Fred Hobson, which I will quote in extenso, not least because it contains matters I had forgotten: “The symposium took on an unexpected momentum, and two decisions emerged . . . . One is to meet annually. Betsey will try to arrange for Emory next year, Bert and Anne for Florida in 1990. It seems I am appointed, to use the phrase of Gene the old Politburo member, General-Secretary of the cadres. In a woolly liberal way, I had suggested biennial meetings, with the organizer free to invite whom he or she wished. But Betsey thought it best to build on momentum and maintain this group as a core, to be amplified in differing ways at different meetings, and there was assent to this, being a proposition flattering to our self-esteem. It was agreed there should always be a session scrutinizing work-in-progress, and a day of discussion in camera. Moreover there was a decision to explore publishing a series of texts, perhaps by a NEH grant and a university press, perhaps (this in addition, for the conservative texts) through Liberty Classics, who have pots of money. We will try to define a canon, horribile dictu, to be articulated and defended before the givers of grants. Some books would be designed for use in courses and paperback, some weightier scholarly editions, the one helping to carry the other. Kreyling will have loose responsibility for the postbellum years, and consult with Richard, Dan, Anne, and Bert. I will look after the Old South, with Gene, Betsey, Steve, and Drew. Since the group has no ideological consistency, the canon will be eclectic (is there such a thing as an eclectic canon?), and hence implicitly anti-Agrarian. There is not yet any clear thought about what press we would approach.”8 As a prophecy of what would come to pass, this leaves much to be desired.

It may be relevant that the idea for such a regular meeting had been on Gene’s mind for a while. In 1985, soon after he had held a small conference at the National Humanities Center on Southern conservatism, he had written to me that there was merit to having more regular meetings on the topic of Southern intellectual history. He planned to talk it over with Lewis Simpson, for whom Gene had a high regard, and promised to get back to me about it.9 He never did and I have no memory that this suggestion prompted my symposium at Miami, though it probably did and it would be surprising if the promptness with which Betsey suggested regularity did not have some connection to this prior thought.

I have used the word “group” to designate the gathering at Miami, because that is how I then termed it. The oldest folder in my possession is firmly labelled, “Southern Intellectual History Group.” And that was natural, because I was an English Fabian socialist and groups were what we had. The “British Communist Group,” the “British Marxist Historians Group” and so forth. We did not have circles, because we were men and women had circles — sewing circles and the like. So where did the term “circle” come from?

Well, from a woman and one who sewed. It was Betsey who, without asking anyone, decided to call us the Southern Intellectual History Circle. There is a letter from her, dated 15 September 1988, which has a sentence which reads, “Emory has generously offered us a modest budget to underwrite next year’s meeting of the Southern Intellectual Circle.”10 I remember being displeased, for not only was this an un–Fabian word, but it smacked of religion and of circles being unbroken and the like, and I certainly did not wish to encourage religious allusions. I remember, too, deciding not to challenge the title because . . . well, because you did not challenge Betsey, unless it was over something that mattered, as this did not. Still, I seem to have struggled feebly against her coinage. In January of 1989, I sent a letter, concerned with the parallel venture of creating a Southern Texts Society, to the original eleven scholars. It is headed, “To: Members of the Southern Intellectual (group? circle? klux?),” so, obviously, I had not yet conceded the point.11 But my resistance was as futile as my Greek was uncertain, and my grumpiness took a while to dissipate. There is a letter to a friend in May 1989, which begins: “I have just returned from Atlanta, where the ‘Southern Intellectual History Circle’ (now evidently its name) met at the end of last week.”12

There is more that could be said about these early days — how we scratched around to find the right formula for sessions and discussion — how an awkward elitism, which for a while gave a priority to the founders, came to be abandoned — how topics were broached or which avoided — what sorts of people first came, and what sorts failed to linger — how we strangely acquired the reputation of a sort of Rosicrucian conspiracy. But “unexpected momentum” was acquired. The meeting at Emory, in particular, proved to be unexpectedly popular and this occasioned some dismay, since we all agreed that smallness of scale was essential to cogency of discussion. I reported to a friend, “Gene went around telling gloomy stories about the Socialist Scholars Conference, meant to be small, that grew hideously and now, for all he knows, meets at Disney World.”13

The Circle did not become what I had intended, insofar as I had an intention, that is, a forum for intellectual history, strictly defined. This had been Gene’s intention, too. In 1989, he wrote to me: “If we err in one direction or another we should err toward ‘pure’ intellectual history. That is our special function, and I shall support efforts to hold the line against the intrusion of social history, however much I may tend in that direction myself.”14 But there was never a sufficient critical mass of pure intellectual historians of the South to hold that line, not then, perhaps not now. I lost count of the number of occasions on which someone would say, in discussion or at the start of paper, “I am not an intellectual historian, but . . . ” Rather, the Circle became a place where various forms of discourse might have a conversation. So social historian came, as did what would come to be called cultural historians — many literary critics and literary historians — the occasional sociologist — political historians who were persuaded that more happened in politics than elections. We were more diverse as to disciplines and subdisciplines than we were ideologically, though that is not how I saw matters in 1992, when I told someone that the Circle was “a disparate and odd bunch, running from left to right — or, as one wag has out it, from Gene Genovese to Gene Genovese.”15 In fact, most were centrists or a little left of center and we had only a few conservatives — Mel Bradford on and off, John Reed habitually, Clyde Wilson sometimes. The conservatives came mostly as a result of Gene’s dogged efforts to kill off liberalism by importing whatever and whoever came to hand — Bosnian royalists, Holocaust deniers, George Wallace groupies.16 The Circle’s lack of structure helped this amorphous polyphony to develop and it may be worth observing that, though I was never a paid up 1960s radical, I do suspect that the Circle’s hostility to formal organization and bureaucracy had roots in that decade’s revulsion from rigid structures, a revulsion which I and others seem to have imbibed. I am not sure it is right to see the Circle as a sort of permanent SDS meeting, but I am not sure it is wholly wrong, either.

My sense is that this polyphony had two main causes. Firstly, the Circle began when several discourses were uncertain about themselves — political history had lost its preeminence, the new social history was beginning to suspect that it could not, after all, offer the solution to all problems, Southern literary criticism was moving from neo–Agrarianism to no one knew what — Marxism, even Gene’s user–friendly Gramscian version, was in crisis — feminism was continuing to splinter — black studies were a long way from Selma and was unclear which bridge one was supposed to cross next. The virtue of the Circle was that it had no fixed purpose, no rigid agenda, planned no publications — I was insistent on that point and the rule has been broken only once — and little conception of orthodoxy or heterodoxy. It aspired to nothing more than a rigorous conversation, although that phrase “rigorous conversation” merits unpacking. There was often intellectual blood on the floor, perhaps most famously when David Hackett Fischer came to address us in Gainesville, soon after the publication of Albion’s Seed and upon its themes, and was dismantled with various degrees of satirical brutality (that was me), whimsical amusement (that was Jim Turner), and sorrowful regret (that was Drew Faust). The event, I am told, is sometimes referred to as the Gainesville Chain–Saw Massacre. Bert was displeased, Fischer was certainly displeased for he told me so, but I did not regret the event, because it said plainly that the Circle proposed to be no respecter of eminence and reputation, only of ideas that earned their keep. In fact, I wrote to Fischer: “We have evolved, for good or ill, a tradition of severe criticism. We do not merely devour visitors, we devour our own.”17

The second cause of the polyphony had to do with Southern culture itself, which necessarily influenced those who studied it, whether they were Southerners or not. As I and many others have often observed, the idea of the South and its culture is holistic, in the way that Romantic cultural nationalisms are. It presumes that everything has to do with everything else: literature with social structure, politics with economics, race with gender, and so forth. Look one thing and, rapidly, many other things need to be examined. Now, by the specialized standards of much modern intellectual life, this is quaint. Elsewhere, there are higher walls that divide intellectual historians from economic historians, social from literary, political from cultural. Richard King and I, for example, run a twice–yearly reading group in Britain that is dedicated to thinking about American intellectual culture and have had no difficulty with invasions of political and social historians. This is not how things work in the South, if the subject matter is the South.

Let me turn now to sketching a few people, prominent in the earlier days, as I remember them. The recent deaths of Gene Genovese and Bert Wyatt–Brown are punctuation marks, denoting the end of a era. So it is fitting now to say a few words about them, though also C. Vann Woodward, who showed up first in 1991 when we met in Gainesville, and became thereafter a regular, as well as Elizabeth Fox–Genovese.

What to say about Gene? The simple thing, first — how he deported himself at Circle meetings. For the most part, he behaved himself. It is necessary to observe this oddity, because, as many of you know, Gene was a man whose life was littered with feuds and animosities, some of his own making, some not. But at Circle meetings, he was usually charming, sociable, and accessible. He tended, during discussions, to sit silently and smoke his small cigars (before the custom was banned), smile ironically or indulgently, and doodle ingeniously. But, usually, after a half hour or longer had elapsed and after someone had said something he thought wrong or silly or worse, he would intervene, occasionally gently, mostly with polemical astringency. As I remember, these interventions seldom prompted extended discussion, because they had a way of closing down debate. Gene did not pose questions, he slammed down answers. It was not that he was unaware of alternative ways of thinking, or of probable objections. Indeed it was characteristic of him to allude to the objections, but to say that we could talk about these later, though it was always my sense that he had no desire to talk about them later, or ever. The eruption over, he would return to his doodle and his cigar. Outside of the formal discussions, it was otherwise. Then, a glass of wine in one hand, a cigar in the other, he would converse freely, encouragingly, and he often showed a quality that is less evident in his writing, a sensitivity to the idiosyncrasy of each individual’s experience. In my own case, this meant he noticed that I was from the working class, as he was, and knew what it meant to be a wanderer in the curious world of the middle and upper classes. He liked to joke that he was only half-civilized. In 1986, for example, he said of himself, “The truth . . . is that I remain something of a slob despite my Lady’s best efforts to civilize me.”18 But this was, as we both knew, not only a joke, but a difficulty. Still, Gene could be kinder than he allowed himself to appear, and gentler, for all his street-wise, tough-guy demeanor.

I suspected from the first that his participation was likely to be short-lived, and so it proved. He did not attend any meetings after 1997 and did not go to that in Cambridge the year before, so, upon my reckoning he was at eight meetings. Over his career, he moved into, contributed to, and abandoned many projects and groups: the Communist Party, the Socialist Scholars Conference, the Organization of American Historians, Marxist Perspectives, the St. George Tucker Society, the Historical Society. The Circle fitted into his life, somewhere between his abandonment of large historical organizations and his more formal commitment to Southern conservatism and, eventually, Roman Catholicism. For him, the Circle was especially a protest against the takeover (or so he thought) of mainstream historical organizations by shallow social historians with no ideological range, crude notions of race and class (about which he cared a great deal) as well as gender (about which he cared very little except as a uxorial duty). It was not so for me. I preferred smaller discussion groups, but had no objection to the different purposes of the Southern Historical Association or whatever, except in the limited sense that they were usually not my purposes. The difference, at bottom, was that, while I was and am apolitical, Gene was restlessly a political animal, who kept moving across the intellectual landscape to find an intellectual home and a site where he might exercise intellectual authority, but, so peculiar were his insights and needs that it was not possible to find such a home, and so he kept moving.19 He was, in that sense, very like W. E. B. Du Bois.

Of all the older historians who attended, he was the most charismatic and most the object of discussion and gossip. His learning and range were immense, his wit and occasional modesty disarming, and his three–piece suits impeccable. One was very conscious, however, that, beneath the urbanity was a sharp capacity for anger, that he laid down lines that ought not to be crossed, unless you wished to risk proscription and retribution. As my wife Tricia used shrewdly to say of Gene, his swans were very white and his geese were very black. The old instinct of the party member ran deep and this complicated and compromised what was otherwise a brilliant critical intelligence, which knew full well who was gifted, who was mediocre, and who could not achieve mediocrity. Gene liked to have people who were on his side and was willing to ignore many intellectual shortcomings, as long as the person had sound views (that is, Gene’s views) or had proved loyal in his life’s many battles. But Gene’s views were intricate, easy to misunderstand, hard to pigeonhole, and apt to metamorphose abruptly, so staying on his side was tricky, for those who wanted to stand with him. That was part of the fascination, of course, this sense of danger. He was conscious of it, I think, for his letters to me, at least, used habitually and playfully to use a rhetoric of violence. I select a 1991 letter at random. It reads: “My secret police reports that you have a copy of The Slaveholders Dilemma . … At some point you will have to tell me what you think – whatever it is. As you may have noticed, I am not thin-skinned, at least not about honest criticism, and I should forgive you for thinking it worthless. I may have you assassinated, but I shall forgive you.”20

Gene’s contributions to the Circle’s debates had a shape. He did not really care for fiction and poetry or understand them, unless the novelist or poet could be wrenched into the role of social critic. In truth, he never got the hang of intellectual history, either, though he thought he had. (Whatever else The Mind of the Master Class may be, it is not intellectual history.) The part of his mind that he displayed at the Circle — this was by no means all of his mind, of course — was romantically focused on the South, with which he had an only–partially requited love affair, urgently conducted, especially after the collapse of his relationship with the northeastern intelligentsia. But his view of Southern history was very selective: he cared little for the colonial period or the American Revolution (a topic he seldom mentioned) and was indifferent to ordinary political events, such as the election of Andrew Jackson. The New South he seemed to know haphazardly and, for the most part, it came up in connection with the modern conservative writers he relished. His mind, rather, was full of religion and theology, social preconditions, a sort of economics (though one that ignored economic historians), and cultural politics. He was, to borrow Stefan Collini’s term, recently applied by Thomas Bender to Christopher Lasch, a public moralist who “turned to history as a foundation for political and cultural criticism.”21 (How Gene would hate my linking his name to that of Lasch.) But a refinement is necessary, perhaps surprising to some. Gene’s mind, it always seemed to me, was unhistorical. For Gene, structures explained things, but not contingency and events, and an intellectual would matter to him if he — it was rarely a she, unless he was following Betsey’s lead — well described those structures, the nature of things. Gene related to people in the past, as he related to people in the present, as a partisan. There were minds that he respected or despised, with little in between. Among his white Southern swans were George Fitzhugh, William Henry Trescot, James Henley Thornwell, Thomas Dew, and Richard Weaver; among his black geese, Thomas Jefferson and, as he once wrote to me, “a long list of southern liberals I cannot bear.”22 Another way of putting this is that he disliked anyone who did not conform to the dictum from Gramsci that Gene often repeated, “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” Woe betide a historical figure who showed signs of optimism of the intellect or pessimism of the will. In truth, it is hard to find too many American intellectuals who are not guilty of optimism of the intellect. Pessimism of the will is, perhaps, more rare.

It will seem odd to say that so great a historian had an unhistorical mind, but it is a more common phenomenon than one might imagine. The same can be said of Quentin Skinner, for example, and has been said by John Pocock.23 We turn to historians to extract order from chaos and the surest way to discern order is to minimize chaos. This was Gene’s habit: to notice anomalies, but postpone dealing with them.

In time, if the manuscripts survive, we will be able to arrive at a fuller understanding of this remarkable intelligence and very complicated man, who eerily combined volatile passion and a curious serenity. One thing we will not need manuscripts to know is that he loved his third wife to the point of being besotted, and this was usually a pleasure to observe, though also a complication. So let me say a word or two now about Betsey. With her, I had a more distance relationship. We exchanged a few letters in the late 1980s and some of these had substance. We had not a few conversations, but far less than I did with Gene. In some ways, though, she was easier to deal with, at least in the early days before the Emory lawsuit, illness, and the intensity of her conversion to Roman Catholicism made her — or so it seemed to me — flintier and more intractable. There was a contrast with her husband in the late 1980s, though. Then Gene was a finished product and had been so since, I believe, the early 1970s, though his earlier days had been turbulent, with wives that came and went, and psychoanalysts who needed munificent payment.24 By the 1980s, however, you took Gene or left him, and he did not much care either way. It was not so with Betsey then. She was more in flux, more uncertain, more sensitive to the responses of those around her, and nervous. Her hands, for example, would shake when giving a paper and her scholarship was soaked in a deep sense that a woman’s condition was precarious. That is, when I first came to know her, she was in transition and a little unsure. She had only recently stopped being a French historian, was not yet fully a Southern historian, and had barely commenced what came to consume her, the life of a conservative public intellectual. Being interested in the South was, it seemed to me, part of the bargain of her marriage, but I was never convinced the place and its culture mattered as much to her as it did to Gene. If their marriage comes to have a historian, as I suspect it will, he or she will need to ponder what each gained and lost by the connection, because they tried, for the most part, to converge, intellectually and politically, and this instinct of solidarity occasioned oddities, for they had very different minds and temperaments. At a minimum, she was obliged to become a quasi-Southerner and, for a while, Marxist, while he eventually resumed being Roman Catholic. I am tolerably confident that, but for the marriage, none of this would have happened and he, for example, would have died, as he mostly lived, an atheist.25

Betsey, of course, was an elite woman to her fingertips: there was family money, however mislaid, and prestige; expensive private schools; a professorial father of note, who occasioned an anxiety of influence; expensive tastes in clothes and jewellery; a knowledge of the best shops in Manhattan. The class comity I felt with Gene was, therefore, absent, because Betsey came from a different planet and ended up on a different planet (inhabited by Lynn Cheney and her ilk), and only fleetingly did we inhabit the same plot of earth. I suspect I was not the only one who felt like a ragged-trousered philanthropist in her presence.

Yet, in some ways, I found her more sympathetic. For one thing, she cared deeply about imaginative literature. For another, she was better at dialogue and listening, though I think this quality receded in later years. For a third, as I have suggested, she was then less prone to certainty than Gene and I have never been comfortable with certainty. An exchange of letters I had with her in late 1988 makes the point. She had written an essay on the “new historicism” and sent me an advance copy.26 In reply, I had suggested that her position was untenable, because she was trying simultaneously to be a Marxist and adhere to the “philosophical perspective of modernism, that reality is appearance.”27 In reply, she wrote: “Although I retain a serious commitment to what I consider social justice, and although I am convinced that ideas must be understood with some reference to context, and although I believe that context must take account of social relations of production (and reproduction) not just ‘economics,’ I am increasingly distant from others who call themselves Marxists, and especially distant from those who don’t but claim for themselves the mantle of the left. Accordingly, I am very lukewarm in my identification with Marxism and probably even confusing in my attempts to make my own position clear.”28 It is impossible to imagine Gene admitting to confusion or a sensation of lukewarmness.

Gene and Betsey’s relationship to C. Vann Woodward, about whom I need now to say a very few words, was long and complicated. Gene and Vann had, from the mid–1960s to the late 1970s, a close intellectual relationship and a warmth of mutual respect that each granted to few others. Later matters soured, though more because, for sundry reasons too intricate to detail here, Gene came to dislike Vann, than that Vann came to dislike Gene. I have a vivid memory of a lunch at an OAH convention — strange to tell, for Gene saw such meetings as the devil’s work — at which he told me of his and Clyde Wilson’s project for the St. George Tucker Society, sought a reassurance that I would not consider it an invasion of ground occupied by the Circle, expressed the hope that I would participate, and showed me a list of those he wished to involve. I recall looking down the list, noticing that Vann’s name was missing, and observing that to omit the South’s greatest living historian was odd. At this, Gene became brutally angry and said, with a rush of expletives, that he was not about to waste time on a dishonest, two–timing liberal like Woodward. I let the matter drop. Later, and I do not know why, this passion seems to have cooled, because I gather that Vann did, now and again, participate in Tucker meetings, though less than he did at the Circle. Woodward’s papers at Yale contain the occasional letter between them in the years just before Vann’s death in 1999, letters which show a tentative resumption of cordiality.

I have written a good deal about Woodward over the years and am about to publish an edition of his letters, in which I have written more, so there is no need here to say too much, except about his place in the Circle’s intellectual life. He seemed to like coming. The scale suited him, it got him out of New Haven in the winter, he was interested to learn what young people were up to, he got his way paid and did not have to do much for it, except chair the odd session. I find a 1992 letter to Charles Reagan Wilson, who was about to host us in Oxford, which reads: “At the last two meetings, Woodward has showed up. In each case, his flight was paid. He likes to be asked and is willing to be put on the program in an undemanding role as a chair. If you find you can run to him, we can substitute him for one of the chairs: no one will mind. It is a game we play. I tell him I will try to arrange it, but promise nothing. The university comes up with the extra money, for the honor of the thing, and asks him; he graciously agrees. You’re a Southerner, you understand this sort of thing.”29 Vann liked the Circle’s convivality, because he was a man for a cocktail. (In a New Orleans bar in 1995, he introduced me to the Sazerac.) It helped, of course, that a few of his former graduate students (Bert Wyatt–Brown, Mills Thornton, sometimes Sheldon Hackney) were involved. It was Bert who first succeeded in getting Vann to come along, when the Circle went to Gainesville in 1991, though I had earlier asked him if the Emory meeting would interest him and, when the Circle went to Chapel Hill in 1990, I tried to get him to give a keynote address about Odum and the Southern Regionalists, but did not succeed.30 Vann’s time with us helped to diminish his remoteness from the culture, in which he had once lived, whose preeminent historian he was, but which he did not know as well as he ought, because he was an emigré. That is, if I were pressed to say whether Vann belonged to the Circle, as I did — that is, as an outsider to Southern culture— or as an insider like Charles Joyner, I would be puzzled to give an answer, except to say weakly that he was somewhere in between.

Vann was famously reticent and little good at talking, so he did not often intervene in our formal discussions and most of my memories of him involve casual conversations — at Vanderbilt, his dismissing of Alex Haley as a fraud — in Oxford, Mississipi, his declining to go to the catfish restaurant of which the Ole Miss crowd were so proud, because, as he put it, “in my childhood we used to throw them back” — the evening, also in Oxford, when he went to a student bar to see the Bouffants, a retro chick band (or so I was told), and liked it — his ironic introduction in Edgefield of Sheldon Hackney’s keynote address, the gist of which was that here was a once–promising historian, now lost to the futilities of administration. I especially remember the moment, when we were sitting together before he was to introduce my own keynote address in Oxford. He turned to me and asked, “who was the historian who wrote so much about the New England mind?” To this, I answered, “Do you mean Perry Miller?” “Yes,” he said, and stood up to introduce me as the South’s Perry Miller. The compliment was agreeably implausible. Naturally, I regret not saying, “Do you mean Henry Adams?”

Having been through his papers and seen how deeply, during the 1990s, Vann was engaged in a flailing struggle against multiculturalism, political correctness, and speech codes that he saw as infringing freedom of speech, I am more conscious now, than I was then, how much he restrained himself from bringing up these matters at Circle meetings. However, I do remember a moment in a Saturday discussion — at Vanderbilt, I think — when Vann started to warm to a condemnation of multiculturalism and I cut him off, because I sensed trouble. Perhaps I ought not to have done so, but I felt some instinct of protectiveness — though why, I do not know, since he was more than capable of looking after himself.

Lastly, let me talk about Bert. This is harder to do, in part because there are, rightly, rules about how one should speak about those who are recently dead. Gene, too, you might say, is recently dead, too. But, in truth, Gene had been dead to me, as he was to many other people, for many years before he physically died and so, rightly or wrongly, it feels as though that the necessary interlude of discretion has long since been passed. Besides, in the extremely unlikely event that Gene’s eventual Christian belief that there is an afterlife is correct and he is, indeed, holding hands with Betsey and looking down on us, I am confident that he will not care what I might say about him, though he would care what I might say about her. This is not so with Bert. He would care.

Bert was our resident amiable neurotic. For all his being a charming man of broad smiles and infectious laughter, he was our Quentin Compson. If one of the purposes of the Circle, for some of us, was to step back, take a cooler look, and move towards the dispassionate appraisal, Bert was deeply at odds with this impulse, for no one was less dispassionate about the South. He had a quarrel with it and he came to Circle to have it out. Those of you who have read widely in his writings will not need me to explain the nature of the quarrel, which seems to have begun when, in 1940 at the age of eight, he was puzzlingly sent away by his parents from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to live with his grandmother in Sewanee, where the children of Confederate generals, Anglophile piety, and William Alexander Percy crowded into his early days. The pleasant memoir in which Bert tells this story, one infers, understates the psychic scar that exile by and from one’s parents, an exile without an explanation then, might have occasioned and it is arguable that he spent a lifetime of scholarship in trying to heal that scar.31 At least, if I were Bert and analyzing such a childhood and biography, I would be inclined to offer this explanation, because Bert never saw a psychic scar that he did not wish, lovingly, to dwell upon. Being myself and not Bert, I do not offer this explanation. But what is clear is that his writings were crowded with the themes of depression, suicide, anxiety, and the creativity that psychic mayhem occasions. For Bert, the South was a prison house of censure, guilt, and cultural claustrophobia, and, though he aspired to be for Southern history what Faulkner was for Southern literature, a bard of this Gothic horror, he was conscious that, in the final analysis, a historian could not compete with a novelist, at least this novelist. He once wrote to me: “I think Faulkner knows what the Old South was like — especially the South of plantation Mississippi — better than anybody before him, and after for that matter.”32

In this was Bert’s value to our discussions. Because many of us were not Southerners, we tended to be fastidiously wary about singling out the South’s moral and intellectual atrocities, because that would have been tediously to play the old role of the scolding abolitionist or Yankee schoolmarm. (Not that, elsewhere in the historical profession, there was a shortage of such scolds.) For Gene, in fact, the atrocities had a mystifying way of transmuting into occasions for eulogy. Instead we, especially the non–Southerners, tended to be interested in perceptions, which was safer ground. As Steve Stowe wrote to me in 1981, when discussing the antebellum Southern elite, “Their perceptions, after all, are what made them act. I’m working, in part, on trying to enrich our sense of how they perceived and expressed themselves on issues crucial to their most dearly held interests and ideals.”33 It was, I think, a valuable impulse, but it tended to an agnosticism about morality — the historian’s morality, as well as that of the historical actors. Part of the dynamic of Circle, as a consequence, was that the outsiders tended to sit quietly, sometimes with interest and sometimes not, as the Southerners traded among themselves about guilt, retribution, and redemption, and occasionally would pipe up and say that, taken all around, the Southerners had done no worse than many others. I have no idea if this is true, but it seemed to help.

Because Bert was only half a Southerner, by puzzling adoption, it would be easy to see him, sympathetic historian of abolitionism that he was, as such a schoolmarm. Yet, rightly or wrongly, this is not how I saw him, but as someone who, more from within the Southern tradition than outside, wished to sound a long cry of pain. He stood, therefore, with many past Southern writers, likewise in pain — Cash, Faulkner, sundry members of the Percy clan — and used them to challenge those of us who noticed other Southerners, evidently not in pain, indeed rather pleased with themselves. This was a valuable dialogue, which could have been messier than it was, because I, at least, tended to review his books skeptically and he reviewed mine, likewise. At bottom, he thought my venture misguided. Though his commentary on Conjectures of Order, first given at the Circle in Sewanee in 2005, moved towards praise, more than I had any reason to hope for, it is not hard to see that a sentence in his opening paragraph expressed his true feelings. O’Brien, he wrote, “has been working at what seemed to some of us a pretty hopeless and almost ludicrous task — to rescue from the trash bin of history long–dead Southern white male intellectuals.”34 His letters to Woodward confirm this judgment, that, considering that what I had done was not worth doing, I had done pretty well, but I had no hope of doing well enough. I never took this criticism personally, in part because Bert’s competitive instincts were deep–seated, only incidentally ad hominem, and at war with his abundant good nature. In part, I was untroubled because I felt that Bert’s writing and criticism was, finally, less about the object of his narration or criticism but — more than most of us — a quarrel with himself, a way of dealing with that warfare between North and South, Harrisburg and Sewanee, out of which he fashioned his books. Besides, he was probably right, that I am too much of a rationalist to understand the South.

These are a few of the people, as I remember them. Many of you will have your own memories, doubtless different.

What was the effect of all this? What difference has the Circle made? When, one day, someone sits down to write the history of Southern intellectual culture in our time, will it merit a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence, a footnote, or silence? I do not know, but I would guess at a paragraph, probably not long, with perhaps fleeting mentions in intellectual biographies of Gene, Vann, Betsey, and perhaps a few others. Intellectual historians like groups that stand for something and have a doctrine. So they write about the Transcendentalists, the pragmatists, the Agrarians, and so forth. Individuals at the Circle have not lacked for standpoints or doctrines, but the Circle as a collectivity has stood for little except conversation, unrecorded, and so its effect has been elusive and, being elusive, difficult to narrate.

What I can say, more reliably, is its effect upon my own understanding of the enterprise of intellectual history. To put the criticism mildly, my earlier writing tended to stick fairly doggedly to an exposition of the relevant texts, displayed a modest instinct for biography, and was a little aware that social history might be pertinent for an intellectual historian. I was a sort of Cambridge contextualist, or so I thought. In fact, I had misunderstood what Skinner had meant by contextualism, since I had presumed he had meant that the text needed a context, and by this he meant that which was non–textual, even what was social. In fact, he meant no such thing, although my misunderstanding was probably fortunate. By the mid–1980s, when I was beginning the serious research for what was eventually to become Conjectures of Order, even by the early 1990s, when I was finished with the archives and beginning to design the book, my range of knowledge and repertoire of analytical techniques was comparatively restricted. I saw, very roughly, what I needed to know, but not necessarily what there was to know and the many ways it might be fashioned. I used the Circle fairly shamelessly as a way to educate myself, mostly about the South, but also about, for example, print culture, literary criticism, African–American writing, postcolonialism, theology, and much else, and this education was often given to me by those who were not, for the most part, intellectual historians. That is, the Circle taught me that an intellectual historian can benefit from being more than an intellectual historian. I am not sure this is a perspective that most intellectual historians have embraced — they tend to stick to their texts — and it may be that the Circle contributed to making me an odd sort of intellectual historian. In retrospect, I may have gone too far, become too diffuse and polyphonic, piled up too many contexts, and stinted what must, after all, be the core activity of an intellectual historian, the close reading of intricate texts. I am conscious, in the work I am doing now, of partially redressing the balance. This is a choice, though also probably a result of no longer being a Southern historian, compelled to heed the siren compulsions of a holistic discourse. Still, the Circle has left its mark on my scholarship, perhaps even on me. But I can detect no psychic scar, so, as Bert would have it, something must have gone wrong. _____________________________________________________

1C. Vann Woodward to Michael O’Brien [hereinafter MO], 23 January 1984. All manuscripts, unless otherwise stated, are in the author’s possession.

2James Turner to MO, 20 August 1981, 19 March 1982.

3James Turner to MO, 18 December 2012.

4See Louis D. Rubin, Jr., “Southern Literature: A Piedmont Art,” in William Elliott Shoots a Bear: Essays on the Southern Literary Imagination (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1975), 195–212.

5MO to Eugene D. Genovese [hereinafter EDG], 25 September 1987.

6For example, MO to Bertram Wyatt-Brown, 25 September 1987.

7MO to Richard C. Lounsbury, 4 May 1989: “I have . . . had to beat down the suggestion of a President, and an Honorary President.” See also MO to “Mrs. Saunders,” 29 January 1990: “The Circle has no membership, indeed hardly a structure. It is just a group of people who meet every spring and everyone is welcome.”

8MO to Fred Hobson, 29 February 1988.

9EDG to MO, 3 December 1985. See also EDG to MO, 10 June 1986: “And I do think we shall to have to figure out a format for getting together periodically with Simpson, et al. My visit with you made me feel all the more strongly just how much I miss the chance to talk to someone other than Betsey (and vice versa) about the matters that increasingly concern us most.”

10Elizabeth Fox-Genovese to “Dear Friends,” 15 September 1988.

11MO to various, 13 January 1989.

12MO to Richard C. Lounsbury, 4 May 1989; this letter contains a long description of the Emory meeting, which discretion obliges me now to suppress.

13MO to Richard C. Lounsbury, 4 May 1989.

14EDG to MO, 4 May 1989. See also MO to Bertram Wyatt–Brown, 19 March 1990: “Is not the Circle intended to explore issues in Southern intellectual history? Certainly, this means an awareness of social history (and economic, and political etc), but chiefly as context. At least, this is my understanding of our venture, our agenda. It not as though we define intellectual history narrowly.”

15MO to W. Ronald Schuchard, 2 December 1992.

16MO to Michael Kreyling, 26 March 1991: “I pass along a letter to me from Gene. He usually offers me advice, just after a SIHC meeting, to ensure that we do not neglect the conservative side of things.”

17MO to David Hackett Fischer, 25 February 1991.

18EDG to MO, 10 June 1986.

19MO to EDG, 30 May 1989: “I am an apolitical animal with very little interest in the present and none in the future.”

20EDG to MO, 6 March 1991.

21Thomas Bender, “The Historian as Public Moralist: The Case of Christopher Lasch,” Modern Intellectual History 9 (November 2012): 735.

22EDG to MO, 12 November 1991.

23 J. G. A. Pocock, “Foundations and Moments,” in Rethinking the Foundations of Modern Political Thought, ed. Annabel Brett, James Tully, and Holly Hamilton-Bleakley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 45: “It is possible that Skinner’s historical intelligence is focused on the synchronic, the detailed reconstruction of language situations as they exist at a given time, whereas mine leans to the diachronic, the study of what happens when languages change or texts migrate from one historical situation to another.”

24EDG to C. Vann Woodward, 25 January 1967, Woodward Papers, Yale, mentions an annual psychoanalyst’s bill of $35,000.

25It may be of interest to note MO to Anne Goodwyn Jones, 8 July 1991, which touches on this matter of the marriage: “Betsey is unconvincing on [Mary] Chesnut, a straw woman she uses to praise [Louisa] McCord. The book is so much a defence of marriage, so much a defence of her own intellectual marriage, that Betsey cannot forgive Mary for failing as a wife, a help–meet.” The referent is Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women in the Old South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988).

26 Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, “Literary Criticism and the Politics of the New Historicism,” in The New Historicism, ed. H. Aram Veeser (New York: Routledge, 1989), 213–30.

27MO to Elizabeth Fox–Genovese, 17 August 1988.

28Elizabeth Fox-Genovese to MO, 30 August 1988.

29MO to Charles Reagan Wilson, 28 September 1992.

30MO to C. Vann Woodward, 14 April, 30 May 1989.

31 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, “Sewanee — How to Make a Yankee Southern: Memories of the 1940s,” in American Places: Encounters with History: A Celebration of Sheldon Meyer, ed. William E. Leuchtenburg (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 364–87.

32Bertram Wyatt–Brown to MO, 4 December 1985.

33Steven M. Stowe to MO, 20 July 1981.

34 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, “Comment on Michael O’Brien’s Conjectures of Order,” Mississippi Quarterly 58 (Winter 2004–5): 161.