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).


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).

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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).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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In addition to an informative Introduction, "Rufus: James Agee in Tennessee" is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a two page List of Abbreviations, fifty-eight pages of Notes, a ten page Selected Bibliography, and a seventeen page Index.
A keenly vivid portrayal of the lives, trials, and tribulations of three white sharecropper families in the mid-1930's (during the soul-crushing height of the Great Depression), Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is especially recommended for public and college library collections, as are the previous two volumes collecting the life's work of James Agee: "A Death in the Family" (9781572335943, $49.95) and "Complete Journalism" (9781572339941, $117.00).
In a later chapter, "Agee and Dostoevsky," Folks argues that James Agee shared Poe's post-Cartesian skepticism.
And Part 3 consists of one medium-length chapter that reads the multi-media work Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans that was first published in 1941.
76), where should a cultural historian place a contemporary like, say, James Agee? Sarah Wright's This Child's Gonna Live was "acclaimed," Wald reports (p.
Composer Samuel Barber made a compelling opposing case, combining poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Butler Yeats, Frederic Prokosch, and James Agee (note the stellar "Sure on This Shining Night") in Four Songs to staggering effect--as recently performed by coloratura soprano Erin Morley and pianist Vlad Iftinca.
Their book "And Their Children After Them," a follow-up to James Agee and Walker Evans's "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.
Film critic James Agee, who would later work with Huston on The African Queen, managed to see the film before the military crackdown.
Bruce Jackson, James Agee Professor of American Culture at the University at Buffalo, is the author of thirty-five books and the coproducer of five documentary films, and Diane Christian, SUNY Distinguished Professor, is a religious scholar who studies violence in America.
It's as dated as the "urban catastrophe" that struck London in Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year, essential as James Agee's great challenge to strictly observational journalism, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, pedestrian as Betty MacDonald's humble memoir-as-mundane-detail work Anybody Can Do Anything, and titillating as Stanley Booth's narcotized The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones.