History, Department of


Date of this Version



Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Jan., 1984), pp. 19-38


Published by Utah State University on behalf of Western History Association. Used by permission.


American scholars have used the concept of regionalism to organize their thinking about certain aspects of national experience for many decades. Its meaning is imprecise because it has had to serve a broad spectrum of purposes. Inevitably regionalism means different things to different people; its content will vary with the purposes and standards of those using the concept. In literature, for example, a debate has been going on for a century over the merits of regionalism versus other theories ofliterary creation. Its intensity has waxed and waned with the times, but in our century regionalism in literature has achieved its fuilest and best-known exposition in the works of such writers as Robert Penn Warren,John Crow Ransom, Allen Tate, and others, mostly southerners, whose works are strongly flavored with agrarianism and opposition to the industrialization of the South.