Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, and Shorter Fiction

James Agee Michael Sragow

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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, and Shorter Fiction

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men A Death in the Family and Shorter Fiction A passionate literary innovator eloquent in language and uncompromising in his social observation and his pursuit of emotional truth James Agee excelled as novelist critic journalist an

  • Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, and Shorter Fiction
  • Author: James Agee Michael Sragow
  • ISBN: 9781931082815
  • Page: 452
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A passionate literary innovator, eloquent in language and uncompromising in his social observation and his pursuit of emotional truth, James Agee 1909 1955 excelled as novelist, critic, journalist, and screenwriter In his brief, often turbulent life, he left enduring evidence of his unwavering intensity, observant eye, and sometimes savage wit This volume collects hiA passionate literary innovator, eloquent in language and uncompromising in his social observation and his pursuit of emotional truth, James Agee 1909 1955 excelled as novelist, critic, journalist, and screenwriter In his brief, often turbulent life, he left enduring evidence of his unwavering intensity, observant eye, and sometimes savage wit This volume collects his fiction along with his extraordinary experiment in what might be called prophetic journalism, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men 1941 , a collaboration with photographer Walker Evans that began as an assignment from Fortune magazine to report on the lives of Alabama sharecroppers, and that expanded into a vast and unique mix of reporting, poetic meditation, and anguished self revelation that Agee described as an effort in human actuality A 64 page photo insert reproduces Evans s now iconic photographs from the expanded 1960 edition A Death in the Family, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel that he worked on for over a decade and that was published posthumously in 1957, re creates in stunningly evocative prose Agee s childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the upheaval his family experienced after his father s death in a car accident when Agee was six years old A whole world, with its sensory vividness and social constraints, comes to life in this child s eye view of a few catastrophic days It is presented here for the first time in a text with corrections based on Agee s manuscripts at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center This volume also includes The Morning Watch 1951 , an autobiographical novella that reflects Agee s deep involvement with religious questions, and three short stories including the remarkable allegory A Mother s Tale.

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    One thought on “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, and Shorter Fiction

    1. Kevin LaCamera on said:

      Recondite, self-indulgent, evocative, fitful, inimitable, genius. Agee makes me cry.Excerpt: “Knoxville: Summer of 1915," James AgeeWe are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville Tennessee in the time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child.It has become that time of evening when people sit on their porches, rocking gently and talking gently and watching the street and the standing up into their sphere of possession of the trees, of birds' hung havens, hangars. Pe [...]

    2. Realini on said:

      A Death in the Family by James AgeeAnother version of this note, together with three others on this novel and thoughts on other books are available at:- youtube/playlist?listAs the title clearly states, one of the main characters dies.Quite early on.- Then death itself becomes a sort of a personage- And if not, its presence is felt heavily throughout the accountNormally, this subject is repelling to me, not just unattractive.Nevertheless, there is a need to come to terms with the final episode o [...]

    3. Charles on said:

      I tried to turn this book into a readers theatre piece. I gave up because I couldn't cut it down to two hours of material. I loved so much of it, every cut seemed like a crime, every omission seemed like a mortal sin.

    4. Dan Gorman on said:

      I read the first book in this anthology, "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men." It's a rambling and lyrical text, formally transgressive in its structure (a mishmash of theatre, prose and verse poetry, journalism, memoir, creative nonfiction, classical allusions, and documentary photography). James Agee and Walker Evans give us a textured record of life in Jim Crow-era Alabama, showing the abject poverty of black and white residents and the racial tensions of the region. On a literary level, this book [...]

    5. Patrick on said:

      Bought this for the deep tracks, mainly the few short stories that aren't easily found anywhere else. There are three in this collection. The first is Death in the Desert which is my favorite of the three. It's the story about the moment we get co-opted in the wrongs of the world we live in. In this case, a hitchhiker doesn't protest when the driver of the car he is in refuses to pick up an African American walking in the middle of the desert, clearly suffering from the extreme climate. The hitc [...]

    6. David LeGault on said:

      I've had this book on my stack for 3 years now, and after 2 or 3 previous attempts I've finally finished it. A lot of people refer to this book as the first true instance of what we'd call creative nonfiction, and although I'm not sure about that, it's easy to see its influence all over everything worth reading in the genre as it currently exists.This book probably took longer for me to read than anything else I've ever read. The first 100 pages or so were difficult to crack (both in terms of vo [...]

    7. Carter West on said:

      [Re. "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men"] Arduous, clotted, circuitous, fevered, unwittingly solipsistic, ultimately exasperating - yet, for all that, a great book. I bailed out a little over halfway through, at the point where I could no longer bear the forcing-together of blank verse and armchair epistemology. But Agee remains true to his quest to find a vehicle for expressing his inexpressible. He finds his encounter with three sharecropper families in a 1936 Alabama summer to be so elemental, so [...]

    8. Christopher Sutch on said:

      For my reviews of the longer works in this volume, see the individual reviews for _Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,_ _The Morning Watch,_ and _A Death in the Family._ The remaining three short stories are, for the most part, quite good. Two of the three are from Agee's Harvard days in the early 1930s and reveal that, though he had not yet reached his artistic maturity, he was a naturally talented writer. "Death in the Desert" is an attack on Southern racism that poses a moral quandary for those who [...]

    9. Jim Leckband on said:

      It is always refreshing to read an author who has such a singular voice. He endows the mundane with the grace of myths. Obviously this is what he did in "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men", but it is also what he does in the other pieces in this book. In lesser hands the kinds of things he attempts would be ludicrous since it seems he grants the subject matter so much more weight than it seems to warrant - sharecroppers or the viewpoint of a child in a family death. One expects lush and grandiose pro [...]

    10. Lloyd Fassett on said:

      Read about "The Cotton Tenets" being published in The New York Times as a book. It was an unpublished article for Fortune magazine from about 1933, with Walker Evans as photograpgher, and predecesor to Famous Men. John Steinbeck had the same pattern in the same years with a newspaper article that preceded Grapes of Wrath with Dorothea Lang as photoghapher.Library of America collections are the bomb because they include detailed year by year chronology of an author's life at the back so you have [...]

    11. Felix on said:

      This collection of Agee's work came as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. Although I had read both A Death in the Family and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, getting this book caused me to re-read those works as well as some of the shorter fiction.Simply reading the words again was reward enough, for Agee was a stylist of great power, and the stories were so immeasurably supported by the manner of their telling.

    12. Mary on said:

      I loved _A Death in the Family_. When I first moved to Knoxville for my masters degree, everyone talked dropped Agee's name frequentlyAgee this, Agee that; the street called Agee. I thought it was hype. It wasn't; this book is remarkable. Especially the thoughts of the two children. Brilliant.

    13. Andrea on said:

      This book haunted me from the first reading (A Death in the Family), so I reread it in 2007. I still need to go back and read the rest of his compiled works included in this edition, but the writing style transported me into their neighborhood immediately.I will probably read this several more times in my life.

    14. Jack Chipperfield on said:

      Great writer loved Death in the Family-IN Let us now praise famous men Agee uses the technique of maddening detailed observations of the surroundings he brings out the tragic pain, poverty and dignity of the families. Frankly Walker Evans pictures tell the whole story.

    15. Ed Mcfadden on said:

      The first part, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, was interesting in style but tediously unreadable. The short novel, A Death in The Family was a lovely look at the impact loss has from multiple perpsectives.

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