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Long-awaited and based on the author's unprecedented access to Tate's personal papers and surviving relatives, Orphan of the South brings Tate to 1938. It explores his attempt, first through politics and then through art, to reconcile his fierce talent and ambition with the painful history of his family and of the South.
Tate was subjected to, and also perpetuated, fictional interpretations of his ancestry. He alternately abandoned and championed Southern culture. Viewing himself as an orphan from a region where family history is identity, he developed a curious blend of spiritual loneliness and ideological assuredness. His greatest challenge was transforming his troubled genealogy into a meaningful statement about himself and Southern culture as a whole. It was this problem that consumed Tate for the first half of his life, the years recorded here.
This portrait of a man who both made and endured American literary history depicts the South through the story of one of its treasured, ambivalent, and sometimes wayward sons. Readers will gain a fertile understanding of the Southern upbringing, education, and literary battles that produced the brilliant poet who was Allen Tate.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Tate, Allen, 1899-Southern States Intellectual life 20th century, Authors, American Southern States Biography, Authors, American 20th century Biography, Agrarians (Group of writers) Biography, Critics United States Biography, Fugitives (Group) Biography