Polemics & Exchanges

I'll Take My Sit

Because it’s reasonable to assume that Gerald Russello (“The Agrarian Burden,” Reviews, October) is highly knowledgeable of his chosen subject, the Southern Agrarians, I must conclude that his avoidance of their intellectual hypocrisy (or worse) is by choice and not by accident.

I’ll Take My Stand was written by a dozen academics, most comfortably ensconced at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, who advocated a return to subsistence agriculture and argued that “a farm is a place to grow corn, not to grow wealthy” (Lytle) while explaining that they, personally, couldn’t afford to go the agrarian route.  In Paul V. Murphy’s The Rebuke of History, we learn that John Crowe Ransom “couldn’t afford” to edit a pro-agrarian publication, “and Ransom remained a college professor.”  Allen Tate complained that he “may have to leave the agrarian life unless dollars can be persuaded to raise themselves,” choosing instead to visit France on a Guggenheim Fellowship.  Living comfortably with modern plumbing and paving in Nashville, Andrew Lytle dismisses (in I’ll Take My Stand) the value of indoor hot-and-cold running water as “scrubbing all the oil from the skins” and of paved roads, which “split the heart...

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