don, and so on—^it seems clear that wencannot. Faulkner aside, something uniquenwas happening in the South during thenfirst half of this century, and a remarkablennumber of literary sensibilities respondednto the challenge with an equallynremarkable literature. Recent historynmakes it equally apparent that the Southernnsensibility has been altered, that thenmagic moment of regional imaginationnhas passed. The best Southern writersntoday depict a region that is less a counttynwithin a country than a relative onceremovednfirom the patriarchal culture.nPerhaps the last important writer tonspeak with a genuine Southern accentnwas Flannery O’Connor, dead sincen1964. “Walker Percy’s novels would losenlittie of their power and wit if they werentransposed to New England, California,nor France. Such writers as Reynolds Price,nShelby Foote, Anne Tyler and—^perhapsnthe finest living Southern author—^PeternTaylor all explore a variegated Southntrying to balance tradition and changenonly after the decision to change hasnbeen irrevocably made. But if the termn”Southern literature” is to have anynmeaning at all, then the literature mustnat least imply just what it means to havenbeen a Southerner at a given moment innhistory. Recent literature suggests thatnnowadays the Southern experiencenmeans different things to different people,nand four current works demonstrate thenspUntering effect that “progress” hasnwrought on the Southern sensibility asnwell as the tenacity with vs’hich somenwriters are trying to reclaim—or redefinen—their cultural traditions.nIn the MailnMiiy I nari’ litisDfimv’/nTllDiijih llii->’ ll;if liMsllril ‘•(Kil’ty’.snmorf.s. it .ippi-irs ili;il homo^i-xir.iN li;iiiiolnlosi (heir afliiiily I’or jl> inuliiionaln.soi’ijl (.’ll.^ll)lll.•• :ind l()rni.s. tii :i ivirntnVilUitiC Viikv. .’Ill orjvi” pnmiDiiii}; “’tillluralnpliiriilisiii.” wt- riatl an ail (iir ;i;n ;i.s ••’I hen-i.i N< illiiii}; I .iki-n:i l):inii”aMirM (iii.” ‘. ‘nJLarry McMurtry is best known fornhis portraits of the rural and small-townnSouthwest, The Last Picture Show andnLeaving Cheyenne are perhaps the definitivendepictions of his blear, disturbinglyntangible vision of this milieu. But somethingnfiinny seems to have happened tonMcMurtry on his way to posterity, henwas “discovered,” gave up Texas fornHollywood, and has now settled comfortablyninto the Georgetown area ofnWashington, where he owns a rare-booknstore. Cadillac Jack, his latest novel,nreflects the author’s restlessness; thennovel’s home base is the spreading D.C.narea, but Jack (hardly a hero, or even anprotagonist) takes the reader along innhis pearl-colored Cadillac on a mad questnfor Billy the Kid’s boots through thenThe Distinctiveness of Christianity by James V. Schall; Ignatius Press; San Francisco. Fr.nSchaU points out that Christianity is slowly dissolving as many try to show how it is similar to practicallyneverything else. Difference is the thing.nCenter Journal, Spring 1983; Center for Christian Studies; South Bend, IN. Essays bynThomas Molnar and Marion Montgomery are included in this thou^tftil joiurnal.nThe Perilous Vision of John Wyclif by Louis Brewer Hall; Nelson-Hall; Chicago. JohnnWyclif (1328-1384 ) was kicked out of Oxford, had his writings burned, was thrice condemnedn(by the Pope, the chancellor of Oxford, and the archbishop of Canterbury), and had to contendnwith the Black Death. Moreover, he was exhumed three years after burial and burned. Perilous,nindeed.nLlBlR AL Cllll’Ri: 1nnnSouth to Texas and points west, and thennback again. The picaresque narrativensatirizes both the Washington types andnthe “good old boy” culture that is behindnmuch of the improbable action. Namesnof minor characters suggest the tone:nMoorcock Malone, Cunny Cotswinkle,nOblivia Brown, etc. As if that humornwere not broad enou^, the 18th-centurynribaldry is coarsened sufficiently to titillatenany late-20th-century book-clubnaudience. The human dilemma posednby Cadillac Jack is real enough. Jack, innhis faithful automobile, is a drifter, an antiquen”scout” who roams the countrynbuying and selling things for profit; henuses people as things also, though innocentlynenough, until he meets a youngnmother in the process of divorce. Strugglingnwith his human emotions, he jugglesnthe affair, along with some othernless-promising dalliances, until—likensome old Hollywood cowboy—he turnsnhis back on the plucky girl, kisses hisnCadillac, and rides off into the sunset.nCadillac Jack has its few moments andnchuckles, but the novel makes a sadncomment on the author’s career-, bynleaving rural Texas for Hollywood andnWashington, McMurtry’s fiction has becomenlike his “hero”—an art without anhome. It is not reassuring to learn thatnhis work in progress is set in Las Vegas.ni23nJune 1983n