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Description - Allen Tate by Thomas A. Underwood

Despite his celebrity and his fame, a series of literary feuds and the huge volume of sources have, until now, precluded a satisfying biography of Allen Tate. Anyone interested in the literature and history of the American South, or in modern letters, will be fascinated by his life. Poetry readers recognise Tate, whom T.S. Eliot once called the best poet writing in America, as the author of some of the 20th century's most powerful modernist verse. Others know him as a founder of "The Fugitive", the first significant poetry journal to emerge from the South. Tate joined William Faulkner and others in launching what came to be known as the Southern Literary Renaissance. In 1930, he became a leader of the Southern Agrarian movement, perhaps America's final potent critique of industrial capitalism. By 1938, Tate had departed politics and written "The Fathers", a critically acclaimed novel about the dissolution of the ante-bellum South. He went on to earn almost every honour available to an American poet. Based on the author's unprecedented access to Tate's personal papers and surviving relatives, this book brings Tate to 1938. It explores his attempts, first through politics and then through art, to reconcile his fierce talent and ambition with the painful history of his family - and of the South. Tate was subjected to, and also perpetuated, fictional interpretations of his ancestry. He alternately abandoned and championed southern culture. Viewing himself as an orphan from a region where family history is identity, he developed a curious blend of spiritual loneliness and ideological assuredness. His greatest challenge was transforming his troubled genealogy into a meaningful statement about himself and southern culture as a whole. It was this problem that consumed Tate for the first half of his life, the years recorded here. This portrait of a man who both made and endured American literary history depicts the South through the story of one of its treasured, ambivalent and sometimes wayward sons. Readers should gain a fertile understanding of the southern upbringing, education, and literary battles that produced the brilliant poet who was Allen Tate.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691115689
ISBN-10: 0691115680
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x mm)
Pages: 456
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 2-Dec-2003
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Thomas A. Underwood

Thomas A. Underwood, a native of Texas, teaches at Harvard University. A frequent lecturer on Southern history and literature, he has also taught at Columbia, Boston, and Yale universities.

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