Frames of Southern Mind is a book about politics, writing and thinking in the American South from the 1930's to the 1990's. The period is considered in three frames of Southern mind. From the very beginning, the South was characterized by the classical Stoicism of its planters class. After the Civil War the traditional thinking of the upper-class deeply influenced the everyday ethics of Southern living. Here the particular Southern Stoicism is the subject of chapters on Allen Tate, Katherine Anne Porter, Madison Jones, Flannery O’Connor, and Walker Percy.
Southern life has always been bi-racial. The very identity of the South resides in the everyday co-existence of black and white Southerners. How the painful racist history of the South still influences life in the region is obvious in the rare interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. The book shows that everyday life is, of course, full of existential problems. It is argued that these problems have long been the subject of Southern poetry. The final chapters describe how people in the South of the 1990s still struggle daily with private problems which are framed by their awareness of their Stoic and racial heritage.