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 ?
On the surface John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate may appear less preternatural than Emerson, with their movement aligned more predictably with Christian orthodoxy.
Gentleman in a Dustcoat: A Biography of John Crowe Ransom Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
1938a "The tense of poetry", in: John Crowe Ransom 1938, 233-260.
Harryette Mullen is a distinguished voice of the poetic avant-garde, in particular of L--A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry, someone whose techniques owe more to Gertrude Stein than to John Crowe Ransom, but Turner persuasively shows a continuing concern with some of the racial and class conflicts which matter to Southern poetry, and with some of the forms, particularly jazz and blues forms, through which those conflicts are rendered.
Then John Crowe Ransom started talking, not about I'll Take My Stand or the Agrarians, but about one of his colleagues at Kenyon who was a foot fetishist.
John Crowe Ransom reports that one of his contemporaries, head of a graduate English department, flatly asserted, "This is a place for exact scholarship .
Tate managed nevertheless to gain admission to Vanderbilt, where he made many friends, including John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, and others, members of a poetry group that met to discuss Modernism and aspired to lead Southern literature out of the nineteenth century.
The New Critics are represented by essays from John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Cleanth Brooks, and Rene Wellek.
In like sense, I was confused to learn that a story accepted by the then prestigious Kenyon Review had subsequently caused its editor, John Crowe Ransom, much consternation.
He calls Frost's "Yankee landscape the agrarian fantasy of a Southern Democrat--not John Crowe Ransom or Allen Tate but Andrew Jackson.
In one way or another, these contrasts have got into most Southern writing, whether the poetry of Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, John Peale Bishop, Robert Penn Warren, and Donald Davidson, or into the prose fiction of Ellen Glasgow, Caroline Gordon, Stark Young, Eudora Welty, Peter Taylor, Carson McCullers, Tate, Warren, and Katherine Anne Porter.
The Sissy" evokes John Crowe Ransom in its ironic detachment, the vehicle of a curious sympathy.