November 27, 1909|
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
May 16, 1955 (aged 45)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
James Rufus Agee (November 27, 1909 – May 16, 1955) was an American journalist, poet, novelist, screenwriter and film critic. Pulitzer Prizewinner (1958) for posthumous novel A Death in the Family (1957). Agee is best known for Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (written 1936-40, published 1941), a prose account of 8 months visiting poor Alabama families in 1936 with photographer Walker Evans, whose pictures are integral to the project.
"If I could do it, I’d do no writing at all here. It would be photographs; the rest would be fagments of cloth, bits of cotton, lumps of earth, records of speech, pieces of wood and iron, phials of odors, plates of food and excrement. Booksellers would consider it quite a novelty; critics would murmur, yes, but is it art; and I could trust a majority of you to use it as you would a parlor game..." (wrote Agee in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men).
- Books on Agee
- Victor A. Kramer, James Agee, Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1975.
- Nancy Lyman Huse, John Hersey and James Agee: A Reference Guide, Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1978.
- Victor A. Kramer (ed.), Agee: Selected Literary Documents, Troy, N.Y.: The Whitston Publishing Company, 1996.
- Caroline Blinder (ed.), New Critical Essays on James Agee and Walker Evans: Perspectives on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
- Book chapters and Articles on Agee
- Charles Gregory, William Dorman, "The Children of James Agee", JOURNAL OF POPULAR CULTURE, Vol. 9, no. 4, 1976:996-1002.
- Elvi Whittaker, "The ethnography of James Agee: the moral and existential accountability of knowledge", Canadian Review of Sociology/ Revue canadienne de sociologie, Vol. 15, no. 4, 1978:425-432.
- Victor A. Kramer, "American Silences: The Realism of James Agee, Walker Evans, and Edward Hopper (review)", MFS Modern Fiction Studies, Vol. 31, no. 4, (Winter 1985):753-754.
- Mark Durden (ed.), Fifty Key Writers on Photography, N.Y.: Routlledge, 2013.