Modern Southern Reader, edited by Ben Fork and Patrick Samway. Atlanta, Ga: Peachtree Pubs. 736 pp. $14.95. This is a remarkable single-volume introduction to modern Southern writing. The editors have divided the collection into six sections of stories, poetry, essays, drama, and reminiscences, each with its own introduction. What makes this collection distinctive is the long sections of reminiscence from black and white, fiction and nonfiction writers, as well as interviews with William Faulkner, Shelby Foote, and Walker Percy, and essays about Southern life and literature.
Introductions to the six sections are informative but not heavy-handed. While the reader is certain to find many familiar selections, this can make ``Modern Southern Reader'' a worthy addition and companion to ``The History of Southern Literature,'' published last year by the Louisiana State University Press. Necessary Fictions, Selected Stories from the Georgia Review, edited by Stanley W. Line and Stephen Corey. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press. 344 pp. $25, cloth, $12.95, paper.
These stories represent 40 years of publishing from a magazine (which began publishing stories and essays from Georgia) singled out by The Times (London) and The Christian Science Monitor for the quality of its fiction. The stories are not always Southern in setting but are in the words of the editors, ``some of America's most telling and necessary fictions.'' As the Georgia Review does not solicit stories, the fiction here contained represents a cross section of new and established writing. Two previously unpublished stories by William Faulkner and Harriet Simpson Arnow are an added bonus.