John Crowe Ransom

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Ransom, John Crowe

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).

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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).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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In our many letters of friendship, Jeff always used stationery that contained a quote in blue ink at the bottom of the page, a quip from the agrarian writer John Crowe Ransom: "In manners, aristocratic; in religion, ritualistic; in art, traditional."
It's not an agrarian way of life--something that was already becoming a thing of the past when Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom, Donald Davidson, et al.
Blackmur, and John Crowe Ransom. ([umlaut] Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR)
Leavis and the Scrutiny group--and the American New Critics--consisting at the core of John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, and Cleanth Brooks (though also more loosely including R.
At Kenyon College, he studied with John Crowe Ransom and became good friends with classmate Edgar (E.L) Doctorow.
Synopsis: John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974) was an American poet and critic whose book "The New Criticism" (1941) provided the name of the influential mid-twentieth-century school of criticism.
Lowell's mother's name was Charlotte, and this leads Meyers, infelicitously it seems to me, to title his chapter on the young Lowell's relationship with her "Charlotte's Web." That sounds a bit silly, like a cute pun in a newspaper headline, and not much more to the point than the title of the following chapter, "Southern Comfort," which recounts the poet's years as an acolyte to Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom. Meyers seizes on spider imagery in Lowell's poetry, which I do not find as all-pervading as he does: "From Lowell's first to his last book of poems the repulsive and menacing spider imagery recalls Charlotte's web and suggests his unhappiness and guilt about Stafford and other women."
In the first half of the last century, John Crowe Ransom, the southern poet, cultural critic, and professor of literature at Vanderbilt and, later, Kenyon College, emerged as a promising figure in the effort to establish literary criticism as a genuinely aesthetic enterprise.
Like a painter, looking was what she aimed for: "truly looking at the world around me," she writes, "and trying to record it." She is particularly moved by John Crowe Ransom's "notion that it is the specific detail, intimately rendered that reveals our love for the subject." Her poems were not interested in fabrication or fantasy.
Watson writes that under the tutelage of Paul Engle, the Iowa Writing Workshop director, and guided by several New Critic "mentors" (John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, Andrew Lytle, and Austin Warren), O'Connor "enjoyed almost instant success" in mass circulation through Mademoiselle and among the elite readership of Sewanee Review (207).
I will scrutinize the "preachers" of the early-to-mid nineteenth century first American Renaissance, led by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and also the "teachers" of the early-to-mid twentieth century Southern Renaissance, led by John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate and others.
At Vanderbilt, Jarrell would quickly get himself noticed through a tactless self-assurance in class and his precocious literary gifts and mastery of verse that would attract the attention and acknowledgment of such established literary names like Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom. The latter would become his mentor and when, in 1937, Ransom accepted a better-paid chair at Kenyon College, Ohio, Jarrell followed him.