Top Ten Southern Novels

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The Oxford American magazine recently asked 134 scholars to vote for the ten best Southern novels of all time. The Nashville Tennessean has an article about it here.

Now, first of all, I haven’t forgiven the Oxford American for moving from Oxford, Mississippi, to Arkansas. Still, it’s a good magazine.

The top ten novels picked by their team of scholars:
1. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
2. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
3. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
7. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
8. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
9. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
10. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

I agree with many of the choices, especially the Faulkner, O’Connor, Percy, and Ellison picks. I wouldn’t count Mark Twain as a Southern author, although I would agree that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the best, perhaps the best, American novels of all time. Faulkner is, of course, inimitable and significant. Percy is likewise. My main complaint is that Eudora Welty is not on this list and neither is Willie Morris. They should be.

We live in a fearful and cowardly time. The crisis we face is not a crisis of clarity but a crisis of courage.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project.