Reviews

Unsung but Unvanquished

Though one of the original Agrarians—men now widely considered prophets—Andrew Lytle is an unheralded man of letters. He has been an influential editor, essayist, farmer, poet, and novelist; yet, outside of a small group of men devoted to Southern letters, Lytle has not been fully appreciated. John L. Stewart, the oft-praised Northern historian of the Agrarian movement, has concluded that Lytle is unimportant. The reason for Lytle's undeserved obscurity may be that in an age that disdains humane literature, he remains a crusader for its preservation. 

Nowhere is Lytle's unapologetic defense of the old order more evident than in his short fiction. Though his short stories do not make him a major figure in this field, they are exemplary of a renaissance of Southern short fiction which has included Warren, Taylor, Porter, and Welty. In this collection of four stories and one novella, the reader will find some of Lytle's most unyielding defenses of the "old morality." The story "Jericho, Jericho, Jericho," the first in the collection, is illustrative. The central figure, the old matriarch Katherine McGowan, is representative of an older order in the way she operates a large plantation in rural Alabama around the turn of the century. With concern and love she has kept the farm in good shape—paying Black and white workers respectable wages, staying abreast of the latest farming...

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