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Published: Oct 11 2019
Size: 6 x 9
Pages: 296
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HARDCOVER: 978-1-64336-019-5
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Literary Studies
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The Radiance of Small Things in Ron Rash's Writing

Frédérique Spill

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The Radiance of Small Things in Ron Rash's Writing examines how the poet's language bristles with a variety of carefully registered sensory perceptions detailing minute objects, some of which, Frédérique Spill argues, less poetic minds than his might consider insignificant. Through its eleven chapters, each devoted to a different book in order of publication, Spill's study shows how prone Rash is to making violence cohabit with beauty, thus imbuing the dreariest situations with a poignant brightness, an unlikely luminescence.

The overall discussion highlights the evolution of Rash's writing toward a dense inventiveness and a keen poetic awareness of the workings of the natural world, which reaches a peak with the publication of Above the Waterfall. However, readers more particularly interested in one specific book may consult chapters separately. The volume concludes with three interviews with Rash, respectively focusing on novels, short stories, and poetry.

Through close readings and systematic observations of Ron Rash's writing, Spill hopes to illuminate these seemingly insignificant details. They somehow contain larger elements—textual components that could remain unnoticed but might very well prove fraught with significance.

Frédérique Spill is associate professor of American literature at the University of Picardy–Jules Verne in Amiens, France, where she also supervises a research group. She is the author of L'Idiotie dans l'œuvre de William Faulkner. Spill coedited The Wagon Moves: New Essays on As I Lay Dying and contributed to Critical Insights: The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner at Fifty: Tutors and Tyros, Conversations with Ron Rash, and Summoning the Dead.

"The Radiance of Small Things in Ron Rash's Writing makes a major and original contribution to scholarly analysis of Rash's work. Spill's monograph brims with new insights into Rash's fiction and poetry while also skillfully incorporating previous critical commentary about his books. Her consistently perceptive, detailed assessment of Rash's literary achievement will certainly enhance his already substantial reputation."—John Lang, Emory & Henry College

"Frederique Spill has exciting insights into the work of Ron Rash. We who have admired Rash's poetry and fiction for many years are especially delighted to see the appreciation his work has won abroad. The French were among the first to recognize a number of American authors. It is thrilling to learn they have added Ron Rash to their pantheon."—Robert Morgan, New York Times bestselling author of Gap Creek

"Though I have long revered the fiction and poetry of Ron Rash, I'm not sure I fully appreciated the depth, beauty, and insight of his work until I read Frédérique Spill's remarkable The Radiance of Small Things in Ron Rash's Writing. Here is a work possessing its own radiance, free of obfuscating theory, and full of the sort of precise observations that animate Rash's work. This book will be as useful to scholars as it is accessible to serious readers."—Mark Powell, author of Firebird and Small Treasons

"In the ever-mounting body of scholarship on Ron Rash, Frederique Spill's remarkable The Radiance of Small Things in Ron Rash's Writing towers. Indeed, Spill's book – in prose nuanced and pitched to perfection – radiates the yield of her indefatigable forensic study of Rash's abiding Appalachian aesthetic and his prolific output and uncanny range as a poet, short fiction writer, and novelist. This utterly indispensable volume underscores Ron Rash's place as the contemporary master of Appalachian literature."—Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina Poet Laureate (2102-14) and author of The Life of the World to Come

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