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).

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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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Eliot, William Empson, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks, and R.
(85.) John Crowe Ransom, I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1977).
Would you see God, see me' Without question, John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate had similar beliefs.
Saved by John Crowe Ransom, the founder of the Kenyon Review himself, the poet, critic, teacher, and editor, saved by his asking plaintively why wouldn't I leave Red Warren alone and go on about my business.
The only major biography of John Crowe Ransom, Thomas Daniel Young's Gentleman in a Dustcoat, takes its title from "Piazza Piece" (1925), one of many poems Ransom published in the short-lived but influential literary journal, the Fugitive.
Empson's model also affords a way of considering the irony in the so-called minor verse of John Crowe Ransom such as "Bells for John Whiteside's daughter", "Winter remembered", "Vaunting oak", "Eclogue", and "Janet waking" (all poems published in the 1920s).
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).
At times sounding like a list of social engagements, Professor McAlexander nonetheless has engaged the reader in the small family of literary notables personifying a pivotal era of American letters: Randall ]arrell, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Lowell, and Elizabeth Bishop.
And Allen Tate--who along with John Crowe Ransom would comprise Warren's primary influences among the Fugitive poets--remembers that Warren had covered his dormitory room walls with murals depicting scenes from Eliot's poem (see Cowan 108-09).
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.