Cleanth Brooks and Allen Tate: Collected Letters, 1933-1976
edited by Alphonse Vinh
introduction by Louis D. Rubin
University of Missouri Press, 1998
Cloth: 978-0-8262-1207-8 | eISBN: 978-0-8262-6179-3
Library of Congress Classification PS29.B74A4 1998a
Dewey Decimal Classification 809


Offering all of the extant letters exchanged by two of the twentieth century's most distinguished literary figures, Cleanth Brooks and Allen Tate: Collected Letters, 1933-1976 vividly depicts the remarkable relationship, both professional and personal, between Brooks and Tate over the course of their lifelong friendship.

An accomplished poet, critic, biographer, and teacher, Allen Tate had a powerful influence on the literary world of his era. Editor of the Fugitive and the Sewanee Review, Tate greatly affected the lives and careers of his fellow literati, including Cleanth Brooks. Esteemed coeditor of An Approach to Literature and Understanding Poetry, Brooks was one of the principal creators of the New Criticism. His Modern Poetry and the Tradition and The Well Wrought Urn, as well as his two-volume study of Faulkner, remain among the classics read by any serious student of literature. The correspondence between these two gentlemen-scholars, which began in the 1930s, extended over five decades and covered a vast amount of twentieth-century literary history.

In the more than 250 letters collected here, the reader will encounter their shared concerns for and responses to the work of their numerous friends and many prominent writers, including T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, and Robert Lowell. Their letters offer details about their own developing careers and also provide striking insight into the group dynamics of the Agrarians, the noteworthy community of southern writers who played so influential a role in the literature of modernism.

Brooks once said that Tate treated him like a younger brother, and despite great differences between their personalities and characters, these two figures each felt deep brotherly affection for the other. Whether they contain warm invitations for the one to visit the other, genteel or honest commentaries on their families and friends, or descriptions of the vast array of social, professional, and even political activities each experienced, the letters of Brooks and Tate clearly reveal the personalities of both men and the powerful ties of their strong camaraderie.

Invaluable to both students and teachers of literature, Cleanth Brooks and Allen Tate provides a substantial contribution to the study of twentieth-century American, and particularly southern, literary history.

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