Agee Agonistes: Essays on the Life, Legend, and Works of James Agee

Overview

Most widely noted for his acclaimed Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Death in the Family, Tennessee native James Agee was also a journalist, film critic, poet, and screenwriter.  More than fifty years after Agee's untimely death, his canon of work continues to grow in popularity, and his ability to capture the human condition in all its forms remains unparalleled.

Agee Agonistes is a compilation of seventeen essays from the James Agee ...

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Overview

Most widely noted for his acclaimed Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Death in the Family, Tennessee native James Agee was also a journalist, film critic, poet, and screenwriter.  More than fifty years after Agee's untimely death, his canon of work continues to grow in popularity, and his ability to capture the human condition in all its forms remains unparalleled.

Agee Agonistes is a compilation of seventeen essays from the James Agee Celebration hosted by the University of Tennessee in April 2005.  The collection includes some of the best interpretations of Agee's work and explores the influences on his art, delineates the connections and syntheses he makes within his texts, and examines his involvement in music, ethics, surrealism, local and national history, cinema, television, poetry, literature, sociology, and journalism. The volume features never-before-seen pictures of Agee, previously unknown correspondence, and a remembrance by his oldest daughter, Deedee. The volume also includes the most extensive bibliography of secondary sources on Agee assembled to date.

The essays are divided into four parts:

Agee's Influences and Syntheses-Contributors: Paul Sprecher, William Bruce Wheeler, Jack Neely, Jeffrey J. Folks, Hugh Davis, Paul Ashdown

Agee's Films-Contributors: Daniel Feller, Jeffrey Couchman, Mary E. Papke, John Wranovics

Agee's Literature-Contributors:  Fred Chappell, Angie Maxwell, John H. Summers, James A. Crank, Michael A. Lofaro

Agee's Correspondence-Contributor: Brian Gempp.

In addition, the volume includes an introductory essay entitled “Mapping Agee's Myriad Mind” by noted author David Madden.

Agee Agonistes will be of interest to all those who study twentieth-century America and will introduce a new generation of readers to James Agee.

Michael Lofaro is professor of American literature and American and Cultural Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has authored and edited numerous volumes and is coeditor, with Hugh Davis, of James Agee Rediscovered: The Journals of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and Other New Manuscripts. He is also the general editor for the ten-volume series, The Works of James Agee, and the editor of its forthcoming first volume, A Death in the Family:  A Restoration of the Author's Text.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572335745
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 5/30/2007
  • Pages: 334
  • Sales rank: 1,435,668
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Lofaro is professor of American literature and American and Cultural Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has authored and edited numerous volumes and is coeditor, with Hugh Davis, of James Agee Rediscovered: The Journals of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and Other New Manuscripts. He is also the general editor for the ten-volume series, The Works of James Agee, and the editor of its forthcoming first volume, A Death in the Family:  A Restoration of the Author's Text.

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Table of Contents


Preface     xi
Editor's Note     xvii
Acknowledgments     xix
A James Agee Chronology     xxi
Introduction
Mapping Agee's Myriad Mind: An Introductory Exhortation   David Madden     3
Agee's Influences and Syntheses
James Agee: Now More Than Ever   Paul Sprecher     37
James Agee's Knoxville   William Bruce Wheeler     49
"The Boldest of All the Sounds of Night": Music in the Early Life of James Agee   Jack Neely     67
Agee's Angelic Ethics   Jeffrey J. Folks     73
"Drinking at Wells Sunk beneath Privies": Agee and Surrealism   Hugh Davis     85
"From Almost as Early as I Can Remember": James Agee and the Civil War   Paul Ashdown     105
Agee's Films
James Agee's "Mr. Lincoln": The Historical Record   Daniel Feller     127
Credit Where Credits Are Due: The Agee-Laughton Collaboration on The Night of the Hunter   Jeffrey Couchman     131
The Failure of Narrative and the Efficacy of Dreams in The Night of the Hunter   Mary E. Papke     147
Chaplin in the Art and Life of James Agee   John Wranovics     157
Agee's Literature
"Every Prayer's a Heartbreak": The Prayer Poems of James Agee   Fred Chappell     171
Feeling Burdened: James Agee, W. J. Cash, and the Southern Confession   Angie Maxwell     187
James Agee and C. Wright Mills: Sociological Poetry   John H. Summers     199
The Body as Sacrifice: The Morning Watch and Ritual Violence   James A. Crank     217
Idyll or Terror? The True Introduction to Agee's A Death in the Family   Michael A. Lofaro     235
Agee's Correspondence
"Drowned in the Present": The Correspondence of James Agee and Tamara Comstock   Brian Gempp     253
Afterword
Growing up with the Jimiagees   Deedee Agee     287
Bibliography
James Agee: A Bibliography of Secondary Sources   Hugh Davis     299
Contributors     333
Index     337
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