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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 6 Apr 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141188499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141188492
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

JAMES AGEE (1909-1955), a poet, screenwriter, and journalist, won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel A Death in the Family. His other books include a volume of poems, Permit me Voyage, the novel The Morning Watch, and several collections of correspondence, reviews and film scripts.
WALKER EVANS (1903-1975) is best known for his striking Depression-era photographs. He served as an editor for both Fortune and Time and was a professor of graphic arts at Yale.


Blake Morrison was born in Skipton, Yorkshire, in 1950.His non-fiction books include And When Did You Last See Your Father? (1993), As If (1997), Too True (1998), Things My Mother Never Told Me (2002). His first novel, The Justification of Johann Gutenberg was published in 2000. Blake Morrison lives in London.


Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A chance to experience a much-praised classic. The book begins with 64 pages of Walker Evans' pictures, as pithy and full of impact as the day they were taken. There then follows Agee's text, 411 pages of the most tortured, convoluted, pretentious, rambling verbosity I have read in a good long time. One can assume from the fact that Agee struggled to find a publisher, and that the planned parts 2 and 3 were never written, that even at the time his work was considered barely readable, and it has aged very badly. But the book is still worth buying for the pictures!
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Format: Hardcover
when agee set to work on this with walker evans, he hoped to document three tenant families in the american south during the 1930's... what he did however is a mix of first person and third person prose, poetry, images and every type of writing conceivable. Not particularly easy to read, but there are many gems hidden in here. Not your average american "classic" to say the least. Agee was arguably a creative genius, although at some points he comes out as a mumbling drunkard. Evans' photos are terrific and the book is very touching... a ground breaking book without doubt.
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Format: Paperback
Rather than reading, I mounted an assault on this indescribable and demanding "cooperative human effort". Agee's torrential prose is outrageous, arrogant and desperate as he issues a rally cry, and displays a railing anger against the fabric of society (teachers are described as at best being "servants of unconscious murder") as he describes the lot of Alabama tenant farmers in the 1930s. The book's consideration of existence is made all the more resonant through the haunting photography of Walker Evans. Half exposition of a new form of writing, and half explanation of the exposition, the author demands much as he sets out his grandiose ambition - "by consuming all that is within you into the never relaxed determination that this shall be made different, and shall be made right". Influenced heavily by his communist views and his religious background, this unsettling and unique book has made an impression - to live more carefully and more cooperatively and consider responsibilities more fully.
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Format: Paperback
There were times while reading this astonishing book that I wanted to rate it zero, and time when I wanted to rate it 10 - now I'd rate it 20 if I could.

It's a book I've heard of on and off for the last 40 years, and I am so glad I finally got round to reading it. It's a work I can't categorise or designate, it fits no genre and refuses to conform to whatever you might be expecting it to do or how you might be expecting it to develop.

Agee is good at using lists - lists of objects and things, lists of adjectives, and my list of adjectives that seem to accrete to the book includes; infuriating, inspiring, challenging, emotional, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, demanding, domineering, solipsistic, all-encompassing, sorrowful, joyful, - I can't list them all. You need to surrender to this book to get the most out of it, it's no good struggling against it or nit-picking. It's structured like a symphony and affects you like one. It's one of those books that has to be read in each lifetime.
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