The Southern Agrarians

Paul Keith Conkin, Author University of Tennessee Press $26 (196p) ISBN 978-0-87049-560-1
The author of Gone with the Ivy: A Biography of Vanderbilt University and a history professor there tells the story of the Southern Agrarians, an intellectual circle that fused at Vanderbilt in the 1920s. Donald Davidson, John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate principally created and steered the Agrarian cause which, briefly, aimed for a preservation of Southern values and ideals against encroaching industrialism and the progressive political views of ``New South'' thinkers. By tracing their philosophical developmentfrom their roots in the nonpolitical Fugitive poetry group to their refining of the intensely political, economic, social and religious ideas that constituted Agrarianismand by recounting the careers of the Nashville men, Conkin weaves an absorbing intellectual history and group biography. His sympathetic perspective of the Agrarians' efforts concedes that theirs was a hopeless cause, almost from the beginning. Still, many writers, including Robert Penn Warren, Robert Lowell and Robert Graves, were directly influenced by the movement. Conkin's research is flawless, his writing elegant and clear, and the lives he documents compelling, although the very uniqueness of his subjects may limit the book's appeal to those with narrow scholarly and regional interests. Illustrated. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
Paperback - 196 pages - 978-0-87049-561-8
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-0-8265-1385-4
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