The Fugitives: A Critical Account

By John M. Bradbury | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
The Fugitive

IT Is ONLY in the second phase of Fugitive development that we are enabled to define clearly the Ransom influence which had so dominated the first year that two able critics assumed he had written the whole of the two anonymous numbers of the magazine. For only under the challenge of a new model, which Tate's discovery of T. S. Eliot introduced, was Ransom led to define his ideological and aesthetic commitments.

Early Ransomism was both a manner of thinking and a manner of expression. The thinking was eminently rational and sharply realistic, but sensitively alive to human and natural values. Deeply aware of the ineradicable evils of death and decay as the central facts about the human condition, his mind could hold this knowledge at a safe distance while the senses discreetly indulged themselves and the spectacle of human gallantries and human foibles passed before it. His poetic stance was somewhat aloof from the little dramas he preferred to expose in a tone of mild and sympathetic irony. The poetry itself was mannered and often deceptively gay. Constructed in traditional patterns, it relied for its effects on sharp images, neat surprises of diction, and careful modulations of tone. It avoided all pretentiousness, all clichés of phrase and attitude, and all vagueness of structure or of metaphysics. It provided a difficult model to imitate well, if an easy one to follow superficially, but it offered a highly effective humanist discipline for the excesses of young poetic talent.

I have indicated that Ransom's earliest Fugitive poems were by no means uniformly successful. There is often an artificiality and strain about them or a mocking irony that fails to

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The Fugitives: A Critical Account
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Fugitives - A Critical Account *
  • Foreword *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Table of Contents *
  • Chapter I- The Beginnings *
  • Chapter II- The Fugitive *
  • Chapter III- Ransom as Poet *
  • Chapter IV- Apprentice Tate *
  • Chapter V- Other Apprentices *
  • Chapter VI- Critics and Agrarians *
  • Chapter VII- Aesthetic Formalism *
  • Chapter VIII- Tate as Critic *
  • Chapter IX- Ransom as Critic *
  • Chapter X- Tate''s Fiction *
  • Chapter XI- Tate as Poet *
  • Chapter XII- Warren as Poet *
  • Chapter XIII- Warren''s Fiction *
  • Chapter XIV- Brooks and Warren, Critics *
  • Chapter XV- Conclusion *
  • Appendix- The Minor Fugitives *
  • Selected Bibliography *
  • Index *
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