Citadel Press, 2001
ISBN: 0-8065-2092-2
Joy Dickinson’s Scarlett Slept Here furnishes its readers with tours of the American South’s literary heritage, supplying rich landscapes of fictional cities described by writers such as Flannery O’Connor, Margaret Mitchell, and William Faulkner. Ms. Dickinson compares the fictional cities with the real, taking her readers through Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, describing a literary fantasy world that is textually vivid and picturesque. And she takes this travel guide one step further by providing important information about authors and important literary works. She includes tour schedules, restaurant listings, and local accommodations, including important sites, such as Tennessee Williams’ townhouse in New Orleans, where he wrote A Streetcar Named Desire.
        Each state listed is filled with its towns’ literary heritage, the contributions made to the literary world. For example, Mississippi towns traveled through include Jackson, Natchez, Greenville, Clarksdale, and Columbus, and most of the Mississippi pages are devoted to Oxford, where William Faulkner lived for most of his life. His home, Rowan Oak, is described in vivid detail, and Ms. Dickinson provides photographs of Faulkner’s various rooms. Regarding Jackson, Ms. Dickinson says, "In literary terms, Jackson belongs to one woman. Eudora Welty, born there in April 1909, has lived there most of her life and remains the town treasure." Although Ms. Welty has since passed away, one will realize, after reading Scarlett, that Jackson will always remain hers. Birthplace of Richard Wright and home to the Linden estate (whose front door played an important role in the movie version of Gone With the Wind), Natchez is also portrayed as an important Mississippi literary town. And Greenville has spawned writers such as Shelby Foote and Walker Percy. Clarksdale and Columbus are noted for their connections with Tennessee Williams; Clarksdale was his childhood home, and Columbus was his birthplace. Scarlett demonstrates the obvious; literary lures and Southern sites are prevalent in the Mississippi towns, as well as those throughout the South.
        Ms. Dickinson tells her readers: "Do read Scarlett with an open heart and an imaginary passport, collecting mind-stamps as you travel with me. I hope the book will bring back memories of your own favorite Southern authors, some perhaps long forgotten, as well as inspire you to check out authors you may have not yet discovered…Whether you can actually travel to the literary sites detailed in these pages or must limit your adventures to those of the armchair variety, I hope Scarlett Slept Here will enhance your literary sightseeing with vivid details, ‘you can almost touch it’ images, and side trips down alleyways you might not otherwise have ventured into." And she succeeds.