Jujitsu for Christ

Jujitsu for Christ

A Novel by Jack Butler
With a new foreword by Jack Butler
Afterword by Brannon Costello
Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 208
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hxhp
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  • Book Info
    Jujitsu for Christ
    Book Description:

    Jack Butler'sJujitsu for Christ--originally published in 1986--follows the adventures of Roger Wing, a white born-again Christian and karate instructor who opens a martial arts studio in downtown Jackson, Mississippi, during the tensest years of the Civil Rights era. Ambivalent about his religion and his region, he befriends the Gandys, an African-American family--parents A.L. and Snower Mae, teenaged son T.J., daughter Eleanor Roosevelt, and youngest son Marcus--who has moved to Jackson from the Delta in hopes of greater opportunity for their children.

    As the political heat rises, Roger and the Gandys find their lives intersecting in unexpected ways. Their often-hilarious interactions are told against the backdrop of Mississippi's racial trauma--Governor Ross Barnett's "I Love Mississippi" speech at the 1962 Ole Miss-Kentucky football game in Jackson; the riots at the University of Mississippi over James Meredith's admission; the fieldwork of Medgar Evers, the NAACP, and various activist organizations; and the lingering aura of Emmett Till's lynching.Drawing not only on William Faulkner's gothic-modernist Yoknapatawpha County but also on Edgar Rice Burroughs's high-adventure Martian pulps,Jujitsu for Christpowerfully illuminates vexed questions of racial identity and American history, revealing complexities and subtleties too often overlooked. It is a remarkable novel about the civil rights era, and how our memories of that era continue to shape our political landscape and to resonate in contemporary conversations about southern identity. But, mostly, it's very funny, in a mode that's experimental, playful, sexy, and disturbing all at once.Butler offers a new foreword to the novel. Brannon Costello, a scholar of contemporary southern literature and fan of Butler's work, writes an afterword that situates the novel in its historical context and in the southern literary canon.

    eISBN: 978-1-62103-927-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature
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Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. AUTHOR’S PREFACE (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. JUJITSU FOR CHRIST (pp. 3-190)

    Once, in a place called Jackson, Mississippi, there lived a young man named Roger Wing. He lived in what had been a laundromat and was now Roger Wing’s Studio for Meditation and Self-defense.

    The building sat back of an overpass in a tangle of narrow alley ways. Would-be customers had to turn sharply just at the base of the overpass, then maneuver their fat Buicks carefully past dilapidated apartments and barbecue joints with walls of corrugated tin. Either this inconvenience, or the black teenagers staring from the stoops of the apartments in summertime, had driven most of the white business...

  5. AFTERWORD Reimagining Mississippi in Jujitsu for Christ (pp. 191-209)

    The apocalyptic climax of Jack Butler’sJujitsu for Christ(1986) is set against the backdrop of an actual historical event: the football game between the University of Mississippi and the University of Kentucky that took place in Jackson, Mississippi, on September 29, 1962—the night before rioting broke out on the Ole Miss campus over James Meredith’s admission. The novel repeats nearly all of Mississippi’s segregationist governor Ross Barnett’s notorious “I Love Mississippi” speech—fewer than twenty words in its unabridged form. Despite its brevity, the speech inspired many of those assembled to respond with furious intensity. Ole Miss student...

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