'GAY SOUTHERN WRITER DIES'
Well, maybe some time ago that would have been the headline, but not today. But there's still a problem with the 'Southern' ghetto tag, and the function of the word 'gay' too is still often not a mere identifier, but an emblem of stigmatization, or reduction at best.
To typecast Reynolds Price - a writer of many underrated novels, and a number essays - as merely 'Southen' or 'gay' would be to cram him into a straitjacket that he refused to conform to, to reduce his works to the regional and homosexual, when they are clearly universal and polysexual.
Price writes about the continuation of genetic elements from generation to generation, and of the individual either attempting to overcome the negative inheritance, or simply succumbing to it. He was a great writer, but essentially a realist, even in some ways a naturalist, at a time when others were gaining fame for their experimentation. His voice was largely drowned, but his time will come again.
Reynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina and taught for 50 years at Duke University, Durham, N.C. Rather depressingly, he is called 'a voice of the South' in his New York Times obituary. No, he was the voice of everyone, of all races, and his work bears that out.