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Agee, James

(US, 1909–55)

Agee was an influential film critic for Time magazine and the Nation, as well as screenwriter on Huston's The African Queen and Laughton's The Night of the Hunter. He is equally known for Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), with photographer Walker Evans, a richly poetic and engaged account of Alabama sharecropper families during the Depression. Agee put his awareness of film-making into his fiction, particularly A Death in the Family (1957), which uses flashbacks and emphasizes the visual. This intense and moving novel is in three parts; it follows a young boy's attachment to his father, the death of the father in a car crash, and the emotional impact on the whole family. Conflicts between a boy's religious feeling and growing self-awareness also feature in The Morning Watch (1951), during which he is awakened by a priest to stand his watch before the altar.

John Steinbeck, Sherwood Anderson  JS

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (A-Bo)