American Literature, American Culture

By Gordon Hutner | Go to book overview
about their spiritual drunkards and super-refined Parisian emigres; or about their spiritual marriages and divorces, etc., that is their world; we must write about our own mud- puddle; it will prove infinitely more important. This is being done by the proletarian realism.
6. Swift action, clear form, the direct line, cinema in words; this seems to be one of the principles of proletarian realism. It knows exactly what it believes and where it is going; this makes for its beautiful youthful clarity.
7. Away with drabness, the bourgeois notion that the Worker's life is sordid, the slummer's disgust and feeling of futility. There is horror and drabness in the Worker's life; and we will portray it; but we know this is not the last word; we know that this manure heap is the hope of the future; we know that not pessimism, but revolutionary elan will sweep this mess out of the world forever.
8. Away with all lies about human nature. We are scientists; we know what a man thinks and feels. Everyone is a mixture of motives; we do not have to lie about our hero in order to win our case. It is this honesty alone, frank as an unspoiled child's, that makes proletarian realism superior to the older literary schools.
9. No straining or melodrama or other effects; life itself is the supreme melodrama. Feel this intensely, and everything becomes poetry--the new poetry of materials, of the so-called "common man," the Worker molding his real world. [ 1930]

John Crowe Ransom


Reconstructed but Unregenerate

Preface to I'll Take My Stand!


I

It is out of fashion in these days to look backward rather than forward. About the only American given to it is some unreconstructed Southerner, who persists in his regard for a certain terrain, a certain history, and a certain inherited way of living. He is punished as his crime deserves. He feels himself in the American scene as an anachronism, and knows he is felt by his neighbors as a reproach.

Of course he is a tolerably harmless reproach. He is like some quaint local character of eccentric but fixed principles who is thoroughly and almost pridefully accepted by the

____________________
Ransom John Crowe, "Reconstructed but Unregenerate," I'll Take My Stand. The South and the Agrarian Tradition. Harper and Brothers, 1930.
Note--This article is made up largely from articles of the author's that have appeared in the Sewanee Review and Harper's Magazine.

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