Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Three Tenant Families

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001 - History - 416 pages
The American classic, in words and photographs, of three tenant families in the deep South. Published nearly sixty years ago, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men stands as an undisputed American masterpiece, taking its place alongside works by Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman. In a stunning blend of prose and images, this classic offers at once an unforgettable portrait of three tenant families in the Deep South and a larger meditation on human dignity and the American soul. In the summer of 1936, James Agee and Walker Evans set out on assignment for Fortune magazine to explore the daily lives of sharecroppers in the South. There they lived with three different families for a month; the result of their stay was an extraordinary collaboration, an unsparing record of place, of the people who shaped the land, and of the rhythm of their lives. Upon its first book publication in 1941, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men was called intensely moving, unrelentingly honest. It described a mode of life -- and rural poverty -- that was unthinkably remote and tragic to most Americans, and yet for Agee and Evans, only extreme realism could serve to make the world fully aware of such circumstances. Today it stands as a poetic tract for its time, a haunting search for the human and religious meaning in the lives of true Southern heroes: in their waking, sleeping, eating; their work; their houses and children; and their endurance. With an elegant design and a sixty-four-page photographic prologue of Evans's stunning images, reproduced from archival negatives, the new edition introduces the legendary author and photographer to a new generation. Both an invaluable part of the American heritage and a graceful tribute to the vibrant souls whose stories live in these pages, this book has profoundly changed our culture and our consciousness -- and will continue to inspire for generations to come.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

This is a story so intense and devoted to its subject, it is almost holy writ. It is a sermon preached by the prophet Jeremiah, who preached while weeping in the streets of Jerusalem. The style is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - howtoflyhome - LibraryThing

Yes, it has a complex structure and verges on tedious at points.But you would hard pressed to find an author who could portray such a detailed account of peoples lives without getting a little tangled in it. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

I
ix
II
xiii
III
3
IV
6
V
21
VI
27
VII
33
VIII
39
XV
160
XVI
165
XVII
168
XVIII
174
XIX
181
XX
190
XXI
231
XXII
259

IX
48
X
91
XI
105
XII
115
XIII
123
XIV
154
XXIII
285
XXIV
292
XXV
323
XXVI
413
Copyright

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About the author (2001)


WALKER EVANS (1903-1975) is best known for his striking Depression-era photographs. He served as an editor for both Fortune and Time and was a professor of graphic arts at Yale. His other books include American Photographs and Message from the Interior .



James Agee (1909-1955) was a poet, screenwriter, and journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel A DEATH IN THE FAMILY.

Bibliographic information