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Allen Tate (John Orley) Biography

(1899–1979), (John Orley), The Fugitive, I'll Take My Stand, Mr Pope and Other Poems

American poet, novelist, and critic, born in Kentucky, educated at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he associated with the Agrarians. With John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, and Andrew Lytle, he believed that the South should reject the materialistic, industrially based modern world and turn to its own roots; Tate edited the magazine The Fugitive (19225), contributed to the Fugitive/Agrarian symposium I'll Take My Stand (1930), and wrote interpretative biographies of Stonewall Jackson (1938) and Jefferson Davis (1929). His intellectual, neo-metaphysical poetry was collected in Mr Pope and Other Poems (1928), Poems 1928–1931 (1932), and The Mediterranean and Other Poems (1936). The poem sequence ‘Season of the Soul’ (1944), while not rising to the heights of ‘Ode to the Confederate Dead’, contains beautiful meditations on time and contemporary history. The Swimmers and Other Poems (1971) contained more personal poems; Collected Poems appeared in 1977. His only full-length novel, The Fathers (1938, revised edition 1977) is narrated by an old man, Lacy Buchan, recalling the terrible events of his youth at the onset of the Civil War; the novel shows how the divisions between Unionist and Confederates within the same family reflect divisions of a cultural and psychic nature in any human society. Two remarkable short stories are ‘The Immortal Woman’ (1933), relating to The Fathers, and ‘The Migration’ (1934), an account of pioneers crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains. As a critic Tate subscribed to many of the tenets of the New Criticism as seen in Essays of Four Decades (1969) and Memoirs and Opinions (1975).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Sir Rabindranath Tagore Biography to James Thomson Biography