Chapter

From the Division of Labor to the Discovery of the Common: James Agee and Walker Evans's <i>Let Us Now Praise Famous Men</i>

Emily Sun

in Succeeding King Lear

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232802
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241163 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823232802.003.0005
From the Division of Labor to the Discovery of the Common: James Agee and Walker Evans's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men has been reissued several times, appearing in 2005 as a volume in the prestigious Library of America series. It turned out to not to be the work the editors at Fortune had envisioned. It is a book that consists of two parts. It moves from the experience of shame to the possibility of praise. Praise is what the book in its rather unwieldy title proposes to do. In terms of formal conventions, it did not resemble any of its predecessors or peers in social documentary. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men moves musically toward the improvisation of a language for “us” that is in excess of established convention or procedure. It creates the conditions for a praise that demands for its success or felicity a response in kind from you, the reader.

Keywords: James Agee; praise; Walker Evans; shame

Chapter.  14049 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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