I’ll Take My Stand as Epic


Ever since the first stir they created in the early 1930s the Southern Agrarians have been difficult to assess. How serious, politically and economically, were they in what they advocated? How much agreement was there among them? The four collected above papers point up and even accentuate their divergence, investigating wide-ranging and, at least on the surface, incommensurate aspects of their thought. One essay, for instance, by Judith Shank, is primarily cultural and aesthetic in its concern, examining the implications of John Crowe Ransom’s defense of a code of courtesy. Another, by Virginia Arbery, takes up Allen Tate’s advocacy of metaphysical "violence" in his quest for right order, and a third, by Steven Ealy, investigates Robert Penn Warren’s social concern for the black Southerner. These papers make clear how startlingly dissimilar were the Agrarians’ modes of thought, and how serious was the divergence in their specific concerns for the good society.
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