“Davidson has only begun to tell us the things he could about himself and his colleagues. The best part of this fine little volume is the intimate descriptions of the early meetings of the Fugitives, the personalities, the ‘insignificant’ little details that together give us an insight into what it must have been like to have been writing poetry and talking about it at Vanderbilt just before and during the early 1920s, when the Fugitives were taking shape.”
—Louis D. Rubin, Jr.
One of the most important of the Southern magazines in the 1920s was The Fugitive, a magazine of verse and brief commentaries on literature in general. Among its contributors were John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Donald Davidson, and Merrill Moore. Publication began in April 1922 and ended in December 1925. Soon thereafter, the “Fugitive” writers and some others became profoundly concerned with the materialism of American life and its effect upon the South. The group became known as “Agrarians.” Their thinking and discussion culminated in a symposium, I'll Take My Stand, published in 1930.
In his first two lectures Davidson describes the underlying nature and aims of the Fugitive and Agrarian movements. He brings to the discussion his intimate and thorough knowledge of Southern life and letters. The third lecture deals with the place of the writer in the modern university, posing the questions of whether the writer needs the university and whether the university needs or wants the writer.
Donald Davidson (1893–1968) was an English professor at Vanderbilt until his retirement in 1964. As a critic, poet, and essayist he was a leader in the Agrarian movement and an integral contributor to I’ll Take My Stand.