Agee, James


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Agee, James

(ā`jē), 1909–55, American writer, b. Knoxville, Tenn., grad. Harvard, 1932. He soon joined the literary and journalistic life of New York City, becoming (1932) a writer for Fortune magazine, a book reviewer and movie critic for Time (1939–48), and a film critic for The Nation (1942–48). During the 1950s he was a film scriptwriter, e.g., The African Queen (with John HustonHuston, John
, 1906–87, American motion picture director, writer, and actor, b. Nevada, Mo. In many of his films, such as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and Moby Dick
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, 1951) and The Night of the Hunter (1955), and also wrote for television. Agee's first major book is Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), a prose commentary on the life of tenant farmers in the South in the 1930s with accompanying photographs by Walker EvansEvans, Walker,
1903–75, American photographer, b. St. Louis. Evans began his photographic career in 1928. His studies of Victorian architecture and his photographs of the rural South during the Great Depression, made for the Farm Security Administration, are among his
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. His second major book, and probably best-known work, is the autobiographical and posthumously published novel A Death in the Family (1957; Pulitzer Prize), which recounts in poetic prose the tragic impact of a man's death on his wife and family. Agee's other works include The Morning Watch (1954), a novella with strong autobiographical elements,; Agee on Film (2 vol., 1958–60), a collection of reviews, comments, and scripts; Letters of James Agee to Father Flye (1962), a collection of letters to a former teacher; Collected Poems (1968); and Collected Short Prose (1969).

Bibliography

See his collected works, ed. by M. Sragow (2 vol., 2005); M. A. Lofaro, ed., A Death in the Family: A Restoration of the Author's Text (2008); biographies by G. Moreau (1977) and L. Bergreen (1984); R. Spears and J. Cassidy, ed., Agee: His Life Remembered (1985); studies by P. H. Ohlin (1966), A. G. Barson (1972), V. A. Kramer (1975), M. A. Doty (1981), M. A. Lofaro (1992), J. Lowe (1994), A. Spiegel (1998), and H. Davis (2008).

Agee, James (Rufus)

(1909–55) writer, poet; born in Knoxville, Tenn. He attended St. Andrews School, Tenn., (1914–24), Phillips Exeter (1925–28), and Harvard (1928–32). Based in New York City, he worked for several periodicals, and is known for his study of tenant farmers in Alabama, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), co-authored with the photographer Walker Evans. He is also known for poetry, film scripts, such as The African Queen (1952), and his novels, notably A Death in the Family (1957).