James Agee and the wounded body Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • Crank, James Andrew
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Of all American authors, poet/novelist James Agee might be one of the most misread and maligned. Overcome by his larger-than-life personality and biography, the work of Agee is frequently dismembered and read in pieces - mainly as works that might help to divine more of the author's personal life and inner voice. This work calls for a reevaluation of the modern American fiction writer's relationship to his text by working towards a new recognition of the aesthetic. In particular, this study seeks to re-imagine the wounded body of James Agee's fiction as a whole entity with a discernable structure and singular voice. It takes as its unifying principle the peculiar obsession throughout Agee's fiction with dismembered, tortured bodies. Unraveling the thread of this thematic preoccupation allows a careful reader of Agee's fiction to plot a course for his career in fiction, from the hybridized Let Us Now Praise Famous Men to the paternal nightmare of A Death in the Family and the ritual violence of The Morning Watch. The study will also discuss in detail - and for the first time - portions of Agee's unpublished works that will help to fill in gaps between the author's major fiction. By manifesting a clear and unified vision for Agee's artistic endeavor, this study will help to construct not only a methodology for Agee's fiction but also a new semiotics which emphasizes American modernist writers' works on their own terms.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Wagner-Martin, Linda
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

This work has no parents.