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Roberts, Diane 1959–

Roberts, Diane 1959–

PERSONAL: Born 1959. Education: Graduated from Florida State University, Tallahassee; Oxford University, D.Phil.

ADDRESSES: Office—University of Alabama, Department of English, Box 870244, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0244. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Journalist, writer, and educator. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, member of English faculty. Commentator for National Public Radio; commentator and essayist for radio and television, including British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio, BBC World Service Radio, and BBC television.

WRITINGS:

Faulkner and Southern Womanhood, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1994.

The Myth of Aunt Jemima: Representations of Race and Region, Routledge (New York, NY), 1994.

Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife, Free Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Has contributed articles and essays to scholarly journals and periodicals, including New Republic, Oxford American, Southern Living, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Utne Reader, Southern Exposure, Content, Apalachee Quarterly, English Review, Faulkner Journal, Journal of American Studies, Southern Reader, Atlanta Weekly, St. Petersburg Times, London Guardian, and Orlando Sentinel. Short stories appeared in Southeastern Culture Quarterly and Sun Dog magazine. Contributor to books, including Diverse Voices, Indiana University Press/Harvester Books (Bloomington, IN), 1991; Southern Living. Dixie Debates, edited by H. Taylor and R. King, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1996; and Faulkner & Nature, edited by Donald Kartiganer, University Press of Mississippi (Oxford, MS), 1999.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A book on secret societies in America.

SIDELIGHTS: Diane Roberts has a special interest in Southern society, culture, and literature in the United States and is the author of several books on these topics. In her book Faulkner and Southern Womanhood, Roberts takes a look at noted American writer William Faulkner's fascination and view of women, both in his life and his literature. The author divides her book into six chapters, each beginning with a discussion of a typical stereotype of Southern womanhood, such as the "Mammy" and the "Tragic Mullata." In the second part of each chapter, she discusses these stereotypes as presented in the works of Faulkner.

"Roberts shows how Faulkner's depictions of females reflect his society's concerns with its women," wrote Mary Wheeling White in the Southern Literary Journal. White went on to comment, "Even scholars not in agreement with Roberts's feminist analysis of Faulkner's fiction will learn from her examination of models of Southern womanhood. This admirable book is a useful contribution to our understanding of the novelist's troublesome cultural inheritance and his equally troublesome depictions of females in the South." Ann Goodwyn Jones, writing in the Mississippi Quarterly, felt that the author "has a cultural critic's fascination with history and with contexts; Faulkner and Southern Womanhood, in effect constructs a literary history and theory of Southern womanhood at the same time that it uses such a history to place and read Faulkner's women." Jones also called Roberts's book a "skillful and thorough examination of literary/cultural traditions and of Faulkner's work." In a review in the Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Deborah Clarke wrote, "This is an engaging study, with a great deal of useful contextualizing; Roberts has gathered a wide array of literary, popular, and historical documents to place Faulkner within a specific southern context."

In addition to her academic interests, Roberts is a working journalist. She used the controversy surrounding the Florida ballots in the 2000 U.S. presidential election as a springboard to examine the history of her native Florida in the book Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife. In her historical narrative, Roberts integrates much of her own family history to place the story in context as she goes from the arrival of Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, who was looking for the mythical fountain of youth, on through to modern-day political maneuverings and social injustices. "Florida, she deftly argues, has somehow become everybody's ultimate 'second chance'—mostly in the form of perennially virgin real estate lying prostrate for exploitation," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The reviewer went on to call the book "a raucous but also sensitive and insightful view of why the Sunshine State really is different." Boyd Childress, writing in the Library Journal, commented that the book is "a great way to tell the state's history." A Publishers Weekly contributor called Roberts's effort a "splendid unofficial history."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Roberts, Diane, Faulkner and Southern Womanhood, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1994.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2004, John Green, review of Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife, p. 550.

Journal of English and German Philology, October, 1996, Deborah Clarke, review of Faulkner and Southern Womanhood, p. 580.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2004, review of Dream State, p. 906.

Library Journal, November 15, 2004, Boyd Childress, review of Dream State, p. 71.

Mississippi Quarterly, summer, 1994, Anne Goodwyn Jones, review of Faulkner and Southern Womanhood, p. 521.

Publishers Weekly, September 27, 2004, review of Dream State, p. 45.

Southern Literary Journal, spring, 1995, Mary Wheeling White, review of Faulkner and Southern Womanhood, p. 129.

Studies in American Fiction, spring, 1995, Linda Dunleavy, review of Faulkner and Southern Womanhood, p. 119.

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