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The Sounds and Smells of the South: The Auditive and Olfactory in Fitzgerald’s Tarleton trilogy
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0115-4995
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

“It is a grotesquely pictorial country as I found out long ago, and as Mr. Faulkner has since abundantly demonstrated,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1940 to his daughter Scottie about the South (The Crack Up, 295. The seductive vividness of the Dixie landscape was thoroughly and romantically reconstructed in Fitzgerald’s short narratives of the South, particularly in what is usually named the Tarleton Trilogy. The allusion to Faulkner is obvious, since Faulkner’s imagery of the South in the The Sound and the Fury contains a precision and tangibility that is similar to Fitzgerald’s approach.

 In the Tarleton stories, Fitzgerald lavishly uses sounds and smells in addition to a purely visual staging of the South, in order to establish the South as “other”, more natural and a representative of the universal past.

 However, it seems like Fitzgerald’s particularly romantic imagination of the South declined in the 1930s, which can be illustrated in how the use of sound changed from depicting the “cricket-loud lawn[s]” in “The Jelly-Bean” (155) or the breeze that “ripple[s] the fluffy curls” of Sally Carrol Happer in “The Ice Palace” (51), to the horror of a tornado in “Family in the Wind” from 1932: “It was not a collection of sounds, it was just Sound itself; a great screeching bow drawn across the chords of the universe.” (ch. 2)

 This paper will discuss to what effect the prosaic sounds and smells of the South in the Tarleton stories supplement Fitzgerald’s general dichotomy of the North and the South which is unquestionably connected to nostalgia. Nostalgia is often related to negative implications of the time arrow, and Karl F. Zender talks about how sound in Faulkner’s fiction produces “a heightened awareness of the destructive power of time” (91). This could equally be stretched to include the olfactory. Similar to Faulkner, Fitzgerald uses both an auditive and olfactory prose style to amplify the sensory experience of the Southern settings in a nostalgic manner. “The South sang to us” exclaims the narrator in “The Last of the Belles” (458) and the fragrance of forgotten “magnolia flowers” (460) lingers around his memories. Since Fitzgerald’s narrative strategies often imply a subsequent narration, ”the destructive power of time” tends to appear in the collision between the awareness of time past and time present, between the melancholia of narration and in the present descriptions of the setting of one’s youth.

 

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keywords [en]
Nostalgia, Sensorial, Senses, Perception, South, Fitzgerald, Tarleton
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-36754OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-36754DiVA, id: diva2:743969
Conference
12th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference, Montgomery, November 6-10, 2013
Note

Ej belagd, 20141202

Available from: 2014-09-05 Created: 2014-09-05 Last updated: 2014-12-02Bibliographically approved

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Salmose, Niklas

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