[UPDATE] James Agee Society at American Literature Association, May 23-26, 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Jesse Graves / James Agee Society
contact email: 

James Agee in Literary Context

James Agee Society at American Literature Association, Boston, May 23-26, 2013

full name / name of organization:

Dr. Jesse Graves/ James Agee Society

contact email:


James Agee in Literary Context

This panel celebrates the recent centennial of James Agee's birth and the recent publication of the restored version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel _A Death in the Family_ by looking anew at his importance amongst his contemporaries. In the "Preliminaries" to his 1941 classic _Let Us Now Praise Famous Men_, James Agee listed the psychologist Sigmund Freud and the blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson, among a host of others, as "unpaid agitators" for the causes the book champions. He also saw the accompanying photographs by Walker Evans as crucial and inseparable from the book as a whole. Agee includes a scene near the beginning of his novel _A Death in the Family_ involving the narrator's extended remembrance of attending a Charles Chaplin silent film. An early poem in _Permit Me Voyage_, his Yale Younger Poets Award-winning book of poetry, is titled "Dedication," and serves as Agee's acknowledgement of a litany of writers and thinkers, including Christ, Dante, and Mozart, but also Ernest Hemingway, I.A. Richards, and James Joyce. As these establishing moments suggest, Agee envisioned his work as being in conversation with a variety of aesthetic and intellectual traditions of the 20th century. The James Agee Society seeks papers for the American Literature Association conference in Boston in May 2013 that deal with any aspect of Agee's work, especially in connection to other artistic and cultural trends.

Potential topics include:
• Agee and his literary contemporaries
• Hollywood and its impact on Agee and other writers
• Agee's interaction with photography, film studies, and/or documentary art
• The theological underpinnings of Agee and his contemporaries
• Agee and psychoanalysis
• The literary left of the 1930s, and Agee's relation to it
• Agee and music
• The scope of Agee's accomplishment
• The restoration of A Death in the Family or other Agee texts

Send 1-2 page abstracts to Dr. Jesse Graves at gravesj@etsu.edu by January 20, 2013.