John Crowe Ransom

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Ransom, John Crowe,

1888–1974, American poet and critic, b. Pulaski, Tenn., grad. Vanderbilt Univ. and studied at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. He is considered one of the great stylists of 20th-century American poetry. His verse, elegant and impersonal, is concerned with the breakdown of traditional order and stability in the modern world. His first volume of verse, Poems about God, appeared in 1919. It was followed by Chills and Fever (1924) and Two Gentlemen in Bonds (1926). He taught at Vanderbilt from 1914 to 1937, during which time he (with Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, and others) founded and edited the Fugitive (1922–25), a bimonthly literary magazine. One of the so-called new critics, he brought to 20th-century criticism a new respect for poetry as a medium, emphasizing close textual analysis and the importance of a poem as a poem. From 1937 to 1958 he taught at Kenyon College; there he founded the Kenyon Review, a magazine that established him as an influential and controversial critic and editor. In The World's Body (1938) and The New Criticism (1941) he voices his literary theories.


See his Selected Poems (rev. and enl. ed. 1969) and Beating the Bushes: Selected Essays 1941–1970 (1972). See his letters, ed. by T. D. Young (1985); biography by T. D. Young (1976); study by K. Quinlan (1989).

Ransom, John Crowe

(1888–1974) literary critic, poet, educator; born in Pulaski, Tenn. He was educated at Vanderbilt and Oxford Universities. While teaching at Vanderbilt (1914–37), he joined the Fugitive group of southern writers, founded Fugitive, and wrote most of the poetry that was to spark the southern literary renaissance and win the Bollingen Poetry Prize (1951). Even more influential as a critic, in The New Criticism (1941) and later essays, Ransom advanced a critical practice based on close textual analysis that was to dominate American universities for 30 years. He became closely identified with Kenyon College as a professor of poetry (1937–58; his students included Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren and numerous other poets and critics) and as editor of the Kenyon Review (1939–58).
References in periodicals archive ?
Eliot, William Empson, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks, and R.
Without question, John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate had similar beliefs.
But I found myself disturbed to realize that time's passage marked not only ordinary folk, but such a distinguished and gifted poet-critic-editor as John Crowe Ransom.
For instance, in "Forms and Citizens," largely devoted to a study of John Milton's "Lycidas," John Crowe Ransom observes the powerful cultural connection between arts, manners, and religion and makes much of the cultural significance of ritual in religious practice (and how the tension between these registers is represented in Milton's poem).
Davidson's essay serves as a segue into the book's second section, subtitled "The Case for Poetry," which provides a broad introduction to the development of what John Crowe Ransom in 1941 christened as the "New Literary Criticism.
Grace after Battle: World War One and the Poetry of John Crowe Ransom.
Why should so many of the poems of the principal two Southern Fugitives, Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom, poems with titles such as "Pastoral", "Cold pastoral", "Eclogue of the liberal and the poet", "Idyl", and "Eclogue", show the survival of the old pastoral, a formal genre that died out in the seventeenth century?
In this regard, it is worth remembering that John Crowe Ransom, the justly famous editor of Kenyon Review, extended a welcoming hand to Howe early in his career--not only helping him get a post at the Indiana School of Letters, but also printing many of the pieces that would later be collected in Politics and the Novel (1957).
Warren continues this contrast in the series of poems he wrote in the metaphysical manner in the few years after "The Garden" was published--and, not inconsequentially, in the years following his John Crowe Ransom essay discussing so extensively the metaphysicals and Eliot's perceived dissociation of sensibility.
Agrarianism's manifesto, I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (1930), was written by "Twelve Southerners," including poet-critics John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate, and novelist-poet-critic Robert Penn Warren.
Donoghue takes as his theme the plight of the literary imagination after the collapse of myth--the very problem that nagged the principal architects of high modernism: Yeats, Eliot, John Crowe Ransom, and Allen Tate among others.
Richards, John Crowe Ransom, and others--saw reading as an act of uncovering a meaning that was objective and safely implanted in the work.