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A Death in the Family : A Restoration of the Author's Text - Michael A. Lofaro

A Death in the Family

A Restoration of the Author's Text

By: Michael A. Lofaro (Editor)


Published: 1st January 2008
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Published in 1957 to wide acclaim, James Agee's A Death in the Family was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature. However, the novel had been so heavily edited by publisher and editor David McDowell that it little resembled the manuscript that James Agee had completed at the time of his death. The inaugural title of the University of Tennessee Press's scholarly edition of The Works of James Agee, this restored text of A Death in the Family is, in many ways, a new novel.
This volume provides, for the first time, a modern critical edition of Agee's manuscript, a novel based upon his childhood and his attempts to understand the death of his father. The new introduction is a revealing nightmare rather than an idyllic reverie; the book includes ten and one-third previously omitted chapters, substitutes three finished chapters for erroneously printed drafts, and is divided into forty-five chapters rather than twenty; it is chronological and has no flashback chapters; real names of people and places are used, as are more regional speech patterns; and young Rufus (based on young James), his father, and their deep and caring relationship are far more fully developed. All are changes that showcase the intended autobiographical realism of the novel.

This comprehensive edition also provides the reader with an introductory essay, a way to read the McDowell edition from it for purposes of comparison, Agee's draft of his memories of his father's death, unfinished letters to his parents, manuscript variants, and textual notes which document each part of the reconstruction.  The edition has received the approval of the Committee on Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association.

Wonderfully evocative, this exciting reconstruction of A Death in the Family provides a firmer sense of Agee's achievement as a writer of creative non-fiction and presents his literary genius to a new generation of readers.

Michael A. Lofaro is professor of American literature and American and cultural studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has authored and edited numerous volumes, most recently Agee Agonistes: Essays on the Life, Legend, and Works of James Agee.

General Textual Method
A James Agee Chronology
James Agee's A Death in the Familyp. 1
"towards the middle of the twentieth century"p. 3
"This little boy you live in": Perceptions c. 1911-1912p. 15
The Surprise: 1912p. 49
"Enter the Ford": Travel, 1913-1916p. 83
May 17, 1916: The Day Beforep. 141
Daytime: May 18, 1916p. 181
Evening: May 18,1916p. 203
Morning: May 19, 1916p. 283
"all the way home": The Last Dayp. 311
Textual Commentary and Notesp. 357
Major Manuscript Variantsp. 425
Marginal Notesp. 533
Word Choice Where No Preference Is Indicatedp. 541
Paragraphingp. 547
How to Read the Corrected McDowell Edition of A Death in the Family from This Text and a Chart of Substantive Corrections to the Library of America Edition of A Death in the Familyp. 549
A Structural Comparison of the Restored and the McDowell Editionsp. 563
"Knoxville: Summer of 1915"p. 565
Agee's Memories of His Father's Accident and the Day Beforep. 569
Unfinished Draft of Agee's Letter to His Fatherp. 573
Unfinished Draft of Agee's Letter to His Motherp. 575
Letter from Agee's Mother [Mrs. Erskine (Laura Tyler Agee) Wright] Concerning A Death in the Familyp. 577
Outline and Possible Introduction to Agee's Massive Autobiographical Project and the Place of "This book" in Itp. 579
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781572335943
ISBN-10: 1572335947
Series: Works of James Agee
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 582
Published: 1st January 2008
Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 17.48  x 4.24
Weight (kg): 0.95