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James Agee Biography

(1909–55), Permit Me Voyage, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, The Morning Watch

film produced poems father

American novelist, poet, film critic, and screenwriter, born in Knoxville, Tennessee, educated at Harvard. His early collection Permit Me Voyage (1934) was the only volume of poems to be published in his lifetime. In conjunction with the photographer Walker Evans, he produced Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), a moving account of the plight of Southern sharecroppers during the Depression, which departed from the usual objective reporting for a more subjective, impressionistic style. His best-known fictional works are The Morning Watch (1951), dealing with religious piety in a boys' school in Tennessee; and the semi-autobiographical The Death in the Family (1957; Pulitzer Prize). He was a journalist for Fortune and Time, 193248, and a film reviewer and critic for Nation and other journals; collections of his writings on film were later published as Age on Film (1958) and Agee on Film II (1960). After 1948 he worked mostly as a screenwriter and produced the screenplays for The Quiet One (1949), John Huston's The African Queen (1951), The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky (1953), and Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955), amongst others. His early friendship with an Episcopalian minister, Father Flye, is recorded in Letters from James Agee to Father Flye (1962). The Collected Poems of James Agee, edited by Robert Fitzgerald, appeared in 1968.

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