James Agee: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, Shorter Fiction

James Agee: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, Shorter Fiction

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Overview

A passionate literary innovator, eloquent in language and uncompromising in his social observation and his pursuit of emotional truth, James Agee (1909–1955) excelled as novelist, critic, journalist, and screenwriter. In his brief, often turbulent life, he left enduring evidence of his unwavering intensity, observant eye, and sometimes savage wit.

This Library of America volume collects his fiction along with his extraordinary experiment in what might be called prophetic journalism, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), a collaboration with photographer Walker Evans that began as an assignment from Fortune magazine to report on the lives of Alabama sharecroppers, and that expanded into a vast and unique mix of reporting, poetic meditation, and anguished self-revelation that Agee described as “an effort in human actuality.” A sixty-four-page photo insert reproduces Evans’s now-iconic photographs from the expanded 1960 edition.

A Death in the Family, the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel that he worked on for over a decade and that was published posthumously in 1957, recreates in stunningly evocative prose Agee’s childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the upheaval his family experienced after his father’s death in a car accident when Agee was six years old. A whole world, with its sensory vividness and social constraints, comes to life in this child’s-eye view of a few catastrophic days. It is presented here for the first time in a text with corrections based on Agee’s manuscripts at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.

This volume also includes The Morning Watch (1951), an autobiographical novella that reflects Agee’s deep involvement with religious questions, and three short stories: “Death in the Desert,” “They That Sow in Sorrow Shall Not Reap,” and the remarkable allegory “A Mother’s Tale.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781931082815
Publisher: Library of America
Publication date: 09/22/2005
Series: Library of America Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 818
Sales rank: 671,641
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.11(h) x 1.17(d)

About the Author

James Agee (1909-1955) was a novelist, journalist, poet, screenwriter and film critic, the author of such landmark works as Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and Agee on Film. His posthumously published novel A Death in the Family (1957) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Michael Sragow is the West Coast Editor and a film critic for Film Comment and author of Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master.

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