The sultry climate and rich history of Mississippi have inspired many writers and musicians over the years. The state is commonly held to be a capital of the ‘Old South’ and epitomises both the virtues and the vices which have defined Southern Culture in the United States.
William Faulkner is widely considered to be one of the greatest writers ever and his portrayal of the decline of the ‘Old South’ following the Civil War was set mainly in the fictional county of Yoknapatawpha, based on Faulkner’s hometown of Lafayette County, Mississippi. Faulker set most of his works in the fictional county, the most famous of which are As I lay Dying and Sound and the Fury. Another writer whose work has defined Southern literature is Tennessee Williams, his play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, is set in the Mississippi Delta.
Mississippi has also inspired several films, the most famous of which are Cookie’s Fortune, The Lady Killers and Mississippi Burning. The first of these is directed by Robert Altman, one of the most celebrated American directors of the last few decades, whilst the second is a Coen Brothers remake of an Ealing comedy classic, in which the action is transported to the ‘Old South’.
Mississippi is also renowned as the home of the blues, such icons of Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt and Son House all hailing from the state and developing their idiosyncratic style in the Delta swamps of the Mississippi River.