© 2016

Carson McCullers in the Twenty-First Century

  • Alison Graham-Bertolini
  • Casey Kayser
  • Forges a new path for McCullers studies through its range of topics and cutting-edge approaches to her work

  • Introduces never-before-published archival material that shows a more complex and richer picture of McCullers’ body of work and life

  • Provides an exceptional range of perspectives from experts on McCullers, from established to emerging scholars.


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Back Matter
    Pages 269-279

About this book


The contributors to this volume use diverse critical techniques to identify how Carson McCullers’ writing engages with and critiques modern social structures and how her work resonates with a twenty-first century audience. The collection includes chapters about McCullers’ fiction, autobiographical writing, and dramatic works, and is groundbreaking because it includes the first detailed scholarly examination of new archival material donated to Columbus State University after the 2013 death of Dr. Mary Mercer, McCullers’ psychiatrist and friend, including transcripts of the psychiatric sessions that took place between McCullers and Mercer in 1958. Further, the collection covers the scope of McCullers’ canon of work, such as The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), The Member of the Wedding (1946), and Ballad of the Sad Café (1943), through lenses that are of growing interest in contemporary literary studies, including comparative transatlantic readings, queer theory, disability studies, and critical animal theory, among others.


Carson McCullers American literature The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Ballad of the Sad Café The Member of the Wedding

Editors and affiliations

  • Alison Graham-Bertolini
    • 1
  • Casey Kayser
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. 2320, Dept of EnglishNorth Dakota State UniversityFargo, North DakotaUSA
  2. 2.University of ArkansasFayettevilleArkansasUSA

About the editors

Alison Graham-Bertolini is Assistant Professor of English and Women’s Studies at North Dakota State University, USA.

Casey Kayser is Clinical Assistant Professor of English at University of Arkansas, USA.

Bibliographic information


“By highlighting twenty-first-century additions to McCullers’ archival materials and connecting her novels with recent history, the essays provide new perspectives on McCullers and gender, race, and sexuality. A timeless contribution to Carson McCullers studies.” (Courtney George, Assistant Professor of English, Columbus State University, USA, and Former Director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians)

“Alison Graham-Bertolini and Casey Kayser have brought together an impressive group of both established and emerging scholars to move McCullers studies into the twenty-first century. Some essays return with fresh eyes to familiar topics, as others map out new terrain altogether by drawing on psychiatric discourse, disability studies, or animal studies. This book reminds us why McCullers still matters.” (Sarah Gleeson-White, Senior Lecturer in American Literature, University of Sydney, Australia, and author of “Strange Bodies: Gender and Identity in the Novels of Carson McCullers”)

“This book is both timely and necessary—timely because it views McCullers’ work through the most contemporary, useful, and penetrating lenses available at this moment, the centennial of her birth; necessary for precisely those same reasons.” (Nick Norwood, Professor of Creative Writing, Columbus State University, USA, Director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, and author of “Gravel and Hawk, A Palace for the Heart, and The Soft Blare”)