Julia (Mood) Peterkin William A. Sessions - Essay

William A. Sessions

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

It may be that certain literary works are written just at the moment when the society that each work describes is actually dissolving. Reading Plato or Dante or Faulkner, for example, we are conscious of a tenuous moment that the artist is holding for us. We sense the vitality of a fixed work of art, but within it we also sense communal values that are vanishing, even, we suspect, for readers in the writer's own time. In the work, structures of language embody moments in time that are changing into some larger and freer, or less free, or simply quite different, reality. The South Carolina novelist, Julia Peterkin, with an almost miraculous objectivity of scene and language, describes one such moment for a society of...

(The entire section is 1000 words.)