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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

(1941)
Three Tenant Families
A non fiction book by

 
Just what kind of book is Let Us Now Praise Famous Men? It contains many things: poems; confessional reveries; disquisitions on the proper way to listen to Beethoven; snippets of dialogue, both real and imagined; a lengthy response to a survey from the Partisan Review; exhaustive catalogs of furniture, clothing, objects, and smells. And then there are Walker Evans's famously stark portraits of depression-era sharecroppers--photographs that both stand apart from and reinforce James Agee's words.

Assigned to do a story for Fortune magazine about sharecroppers in the Deep South, Agee and Evans spent four weeks living with a poor white tenant family, winning the Burroughs's trust and immersing themselves in a sharecropper's daily existence. Given a first draft of the resulting article, the editors at Fortune quite understandably threw up their hands--as did several other editors who subsequently worked with a later book-length manuscript. The writing was contrary. It refused to accommodate itself to the reader, and at times it positively bristled with hostility. (What other book could take Marx as the epigraph and then announce: "These words are quoted here to mislead those who will be misled by them"?) Response to the book was puzzled or unfriendly, and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men sputtered out of print only a few short years after its publication. It took the 1960s, and a vogue for social justice, to bring Agee's masterwork the audience it deserved.

Yet the book is far more interesting--aesthetically and morally--than the sort of guilty-liberal tract for which it is often mistaken. On an existential level, Agee's text is a deeply felt examination of what it means to suffer, to struggle to live in spite of suffering. On a personal level, it is the painful, beautifully written portrait of one man's obsession. In its collaboration with Evans's photographs, the book is also a groundbreaking experiment in form. In the end, however, it is more than merely the sum of its parts. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is, quite simply, a book unlike any other, simmering with anger and beauty and mystery. --Mary Park

 
Used availability for James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

June 2001 : UK Hardback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Three Tenant Families
Author(s): James Agee, Walker Evans
ISBN: 1-900828-15-4 / 978-1-900828-15-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Violette Editions
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

March 2000 : USA Hardback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: The American Classic, in Words and Photographs, of Three Tenant Families in the Deep South
Author(s): James Agee
ISBN: 0-395-95771-0 / 978-0-395-95771-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

September 1973 : USA Hardback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): James Agee, Walker Evans
ISBN: 0-395-07330-8 / 978-0-395-07330-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

April 2006 : UK Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Penguin Modern Classics)
Author(s): James Agee, Walker Evans
ISBN: 0-14-118849-9 / 978-0-14-118849-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

August 2001 : USA Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: The American Classic, in Words and Photographs, of Three Tenant Families in the Deep South
Author(s): Walker Evans, James Agee
ISBN: 0-618-12749-6 / 978-0-618-12749-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Mariner Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

1999 : UK Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): James Agee, Walker Evans
ISBN: 0-7206-1084-2 / 978-0-7206-1084-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Peter Owen
Availability: Amazon UK   

January 1989 : USA Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): James Agee
ISBN: 0-395-48897-4 / 978-0-395-48897-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Mariner Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

September 1988 : USA Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Three Tenant Families
Author(s): James Agee, Walker Evans
ISBN: 0-395-48901-6 / 978-0-395-48901-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T)
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 1988 : UK Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): James Agee
ISBN: 0-330-30285-X / 978-0-330-30285-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Picador
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 1980 : USA Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): James Agee
ISBN: 0-395-29696-X / 978-0-395-29696-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Boston Houghton Mifflin Company 1980.
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

August 1974 : USA Mass Market Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): James Agee, Walker Evans
ISBN: 0-345-27696-5 / 978-0-345-27696-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

August 1974 : USA Mass Market Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): James Agee
ISBN: 0-345-23765-X / 978-0-345-23765-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 1969 : UK Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Modern Society)
Author(s): James Agee, Walker Evans
ISBN: 0-586-02890-0 / 978-0-586-02890-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

May 1965 : UK Paperback
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): James Agee, Walker Evans, Walker
ISBN: 0-7206-4982-X / 978-0-7206-4982-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Peter Owen Publishers
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Audio Editions

July 2014 : USA Audio CD
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Three Tenant Families
Author(s): James Agee
ISBN: 1-4829-7002-3 / 978-1-4829-7002-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

July 2014 : USA MP3 CD
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Three Tenant Families
Author(s): James Agee
ISBN: 1-4829-7001-5 / 978-1-4829-7001-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

July 2014 : USA Audio CD
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Three Tenant Families, Includes PDF, Library Edition
Author(s): James Agee, Walker Evans
ISBN: 1-4829-7000-7 / 978-1-4829-7000-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

May 1983 : USA Audio Cassette
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): James Agee, Evans Walker
ISBN: 0-694-50212-X / 978-0-694-50212-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Caedmon Audio Cassette
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

August 2001 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
Title: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Author(s): Walker Evans, James Agee
Publisher: Mariner Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   



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