Historical and Biographical Note
On June 10, 1937 John Crowe Ransom was honored at a tribute dinner in Nashville, Tennessee as he prepared to leave his position at Vanderbilt and go to Kenyon College in Ohio to continue his career as a poet, teacher, and critic. This small collection consists of 39 tributes to Ransom composed and sent by colleagues and friends who were not able to be present at the dinner. The invitation came from Donald Davidson and Allen Tate on behalf of the Committee for the Ransom Dinner.
Ransom was born in 1888. He graduated from Vanderbilt University and went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He taught English at Vanderbilt until he accepted a Chair in Poetry position at Kenyon College in 1937, and there founded and edited The Kenyon Review. John Crowe Ransom was one of the Fugitive poets who published poetry in Nashville in the early 1920’s. He also contributed an essay to I’ll Take My Stand, the Agrarian manifesto published in 1930. Ransom was instrumental in developing what came to be called the New Criticism. He wrote and was internationally recognized for his poetry, his lifelong vocation, as well as for his teaching and works of criticism. He died in 1974 at the age of eighty six.
Scope and Contents
This small collection consists of 39 letters and telegrams paying tribute and homage to John Crowe Ransom from friends and colleagues who were not able to be present at the dinner honoring Ransom in Nashville on June 10, 1937. Among the luminaries offering their homage are T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Katherine Anne Porter, Louis Untermeyer, and Mark Van Doren. All of these are listed below in the file listing.
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