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a change from beat dead horses?
January 5, 2005 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Equine Gothic: The Dead Mule as Generic Signifier in Southern Literature of the Twentieth Century
posted by 31d1 (12 comments total)

 
When Google finishes making full-text searches of every old book available maybe we'll be able to do some real quantitative analysis...
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:16 AM on January 5, 2005


I've loved this, ever since an excerpt was published in Harper’s in November 1999. There's also www.deadmule.com.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:16 AM on January 5, 2005


Thanks lelilo - I'd been trying to figure out where I'd read this before ever since I came across it today. And for the link!
posted by 31d1 at 11:19 AM on January 5, 2005


Dead Mule is the New Three-Dollar Dog.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:32 AM on January 5, 2005


Funny.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:33 AM on January 5, 2005


Whoa! He was a professor of mine -- retired now -- and he had quite a way, let me tell you. His lectures are now legendary. Imagine a lecture on sixteenth-century poetics interspersed with anecdotes from Cormac McCarthy novels, which became somehow hilarious in this context. Graduate school is weird.

Here's the expanded version with commentary, including why Professor Mills got into dead mules in the first place.

Hey, we even have a Dead Mule Club here in Chapel Hill. I don't know why.
posted by butternut at 12:03 PM on January 5, 2005


There is a severe and tragic shortage of mules around these here parts. Does this signal the end of Southern Gothic?

Delia wiped the sweat from her upper lip and then threw the kleenex into a waste paper basket already overflowing with tissues smeared with Flames of Love nail polish. She traipsed over to the window unit to turn the air conditioner on. Immediately the room was filled with a loud haruh haruh. She slipped off her shoe and gave the machine a good wack. The rattling noise stopped but the shoe in her hand now had a broken heel. She tossed it aside in disgust. That was one dead mule.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:03 PM on January 5, 2005


I reckon as how that cuts Tennessee Williams offa the list of gooduns.
posted by Postroad at 12:40 PM on January 5, 2005


I think the exploding mules in Blood Meridian were my favorite. This essay was originally published in the Southern Literary Journal, not Harper's or Southern Cultures. Here's an AP blurb, with a photo of the late Prof. Mills, in the bar.
posted by stinkeye at 12:42 PM on January 5, 2005


P.S. Plz note #8 in the list of possible paper topics for this class, lol.
posted by stinkeye at 12:47 PM on January 5, 2005


Excellent paper. I must immediately go and insert several dead mules into my Great American Novel.
posted by Vaska at 2:19 PM on January 5, 2005


*applauds*
posted by Wolof at 3:00 AM on January 6, 2005


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