James Agee

James Agee (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 Huston, 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 Evans. 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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

James Agee: Selected full-text books and articles

Agee: Selected Literary Documents By James Agee; Victor A. Kramer Whitston, 1996
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Encounters: An Anthology from the First Ten Years of Encounter Magazine By Irving Kristol; Melvin J. Lasky; Stephen Spender Basic Books, 1963
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Letters of James Agee to Father Flye By James Harold Flye; James Agee G. Braziller, 1962
The Bohemian South: Creating Countercultures, from Poe to Punk By Shawn Chandler Bingham; Lindsey A. Freeman University of North Carolina Press, 2017
The Deceptive Anarchy of 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.' By Jackson, Bruce The Antioch Review, Vol. 57, No. 1, Winter 1999
Doing Documentary Work By Robert Coles Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of James Agee in multiple chapters
Contemporaries By Alfred Kazin Little, Brown, 1962
A Library of Literary Criticism: Modern American Literature By Dorothy Nyren; Dorothy Nyren Frederick Ungar, 1960 (3rd edition)
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