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John Crowe Ransom

(1888-1974)

   John Crowe Ransom was a renowned American poet and literary critic. He was born in 1888 in Pulaski, Tennessee, to James and Ella (Crowe) Ransom. His father was a Methodist minister. John entered Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1903 at the age of fifteen. After graduation in 1909 he studied classics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford until 1913. After serving in World War I, he married Robb Reavill and became a teacher of English at Vanderbilt University, where he remained until 1937. While at Vanderbilt Ransom became a leader of a group of poets who shared a belief in the South and its regional traditions.

   In 1937 Kenyon College President Gordon Chalmers, influenced by his good friend Robert Frost, offered Ransom a professorship in poetry at Kenyon College. He accepted the position, much to the dismay of Vanderbilt University. He remained at Kenyon until his retirement in 1958. At Kenyon Ransom founded the literary magazine, The Kenyon Review, and was responsible for attracting many well-known writers to the college. Professor Ransom died in 1974.

   John Crowe Ransom received many honors as a writer. The Oxford Companion to English Literature says that he “was known for his formal, subtle, taut ballad-portraits and elegies.” Much of Ransom's writing appeared first in periodicals.

PUBLICATIONS
(in chronological order)

Poems about God. 1919

Chills and Fever 1924

Grace after Meat 1924

Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter. 1924

Two Gentlemen in Bonds. 1927

God without Thunder. 1930

The World’s Body. 1938

Wanted: An Ontological Critic. 1941

The New Criticism. 1941

Selected Poems. 1945

The Kenyon Critics. 1951

Poems and Essays. 1955

Beating the Bushes: Selected Essays 1941-1970. 1972

Knox County Historical Society

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