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Madison Jones (Madison Percy, Jr. Jones) Biography

(1925– ), (Madison Percy, Jr. Jones), The Innocent, Forest of the Night, A Buried Land

American novelist, born in Nashville, Tennessee, educated at Vanderbilt University and the University of Florida. Jones was influenced by the ideology of regionalism of the Agrarians, especially Donald Davidson and Andrew Lytle. In the 1940s he was a farmer and a horsetrainer, and in 1956 became a teacher at Auburn University, Alabama. The regionalism is most evident in his first novel, The Innocent (1957), which deals with the life and experiences of Duncan Welsh, whilst Forest of the Night (1960) continued the interest in American innocence by placing it within the context of the wilderness of frontier life in the 1800s. A Buried Land (1963) described the flood damage and destruction of farms and communities by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s. After An Exile (1967; filmed as I Walk the Line, 1970), came his most widely received book, A Cry of Absence (1971), about the shock waves caused in a Southern community by the brutal murder of a black man. Passage through Gehenna (1978) was about fundamentalist religion, while Season of the Strangler (1982) drew together twelve stories through the central symbolic figure of a local strangler, and is a series of portraits of people who strangle their own lives. Last Things (1989) explores the corrupt life of a Southern village, as the aspiring young writer Wendell Corbin sinks into a life of drug-running and racketeering. Jones's fiction focuses on traditional themes, such as Southern small-town values, fundamentalism, moonshine, racial tension, loyalty to the Confederacy, and the ramifications of historical change for small, insular societies.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Tama Janowitz Biography to P(atrick) J(oseph Gregory) Kavanagh Biography