Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Samuel J. Sackett
This study is designed to introduce and evaluate the works of a relatively unknown author. To date the name of Louis Cochran has been important only to Faulkner scholars because Cochran attended the University of Mississippi with Faulkner, and to the Disciples of Christ because he brought attention to their founder, Alexander Campbell, in a biographical novel, The Fool of God. It was discovered that in addition Cochran has written eight other books, most of which deal with his native Mississippi. The four sections of this study are a biographical sketch, an account of the Cochran-Faulkner relationship, an evaluation of the six regional novels, and criticism of the two biographical novels. The biographical sketch reveals that Cochran's writing is deeply rooted in his own experience and locale. His relationship with Faulkner was found to be personal, not literary. Cochran's regional novels, when compared with maps, histories, and sociological studies, are accurate portraits of the Mississippi Delta region. When examined for a consistent symbolic meaning they are partially successful. The biographical novels were evaluated as both biography and fiction; some of the pitfalls of the genre became obvious. It also became obvious that when he abandoned the restrictions of biography, Cochran wrote his best novel, Raccoon John Smith. Throughout the study it was observed that Cochran demonstrates a capacity for improvement that might lead one to predict that Cochran's contributions are yet to come.
Copyright 1965 H. Leland Taylor
Taylor, H. Leland, "Louis Cochran: Mississippi Novelist" (1965). Master's Theses. 944.