James Agee’s landmark 1941 book on the lives of two Depression-era sharecropping families in the South, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, is surely more than enough to place him among the literary giants of the 20th century. The book’s importance as both a document of the Dust Bowl and a forerunner of what we now call “New Journalism” is impossible to overlook, and it’s a work that still resonates with essayists like John Jeremiah Sullivan and Leslie Jamison.
But Agee, who won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1958, has much more to offer than just his most famous book. From his screenplays for the films The Night of the Hunter and The African Queen (as well as the one he wrote for Charlie Chaplin that was never filmed) to poetry to his brilliant autobiographical novel, A Death in the Family, Agee’s well runs deep.
Throughout the month of May, Flavorwire will plumb the depths of his bibliography, discussing Agee’s books, his criticism, and the new collection of his correspondence with Father James Harold Flye, out now via Melville House. We will present four separate essays and a special conversation about Agee, as well as a giveaway that you can find out more about by following us on Twitter.