James Agee: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

(2053 words)
  • Jeffrey J. Folks (Doshisha University )

In July and August of 1936, James Agee and photographer Walker Evans travelled to the American South to research a story on sharecropping for Fortune Magazine. Their assignment, according to Agee's “Preface”, was to produce a “photographic and verbal record of the daily living and environment of an average white family of tenant farmers”. Beyond this “nominal subject”, however, Agee ultimately conceived of the project as a work of several volumes to be entitled “Three Tenant Families” (only the first volume, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, was ever written). This larger work would consist of nothing less than “an independent inquiry into certain normal predicaments of human divinity”.

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Folks, Jeffrey J.. "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 July 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4015, accessed 28 September 2016.]