Ninety years ago, a group of twelve Southern intellectuals published I’ll Take My Stand, a manifesto dedicated to reviving Southern values and ideals in direct opposition to Northern industrialism and philosophy. Ever since 1930, the Southern Agrarians have been frequently presented as critics of modern life, but this kind of focus overshadows another way in which they were described in those early days: as neo-Confederates. The Agrarians’ ongoing and wide-ranging engagement with the Civil War – especially in the work of Allen Tate and Donald Davidson – was, I argue, hugely significant for the planning and writing of the manifesto. Examining the ways in which these writers used the war also shows how they sought to retard modernist progress, embrace failure as an element of Lost Cause ideology, and distort the temporal shape of Civil War memory. Furthermore, I show here how bound up in the manifesto and related writing by its contributors is a commitment to white supremacy and violence – a kind of fanatical dedication that speaks to events in the United States today.
Department of English and Modern Languages
Year of publication: 2020Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-12-09