The short, vivacious life of Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, novelist, and film critic presents contemporary readers with a study in contradictions. Born in Knoxville Tennessee in 1909, James Agee never lost sight of the South even after coming to New York in the early 1930s. There, he quickly made a name for himself as a reporter for Fortune magazine and it was for Fortune that he began the article, with photographer Walker Evans, that would become Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. When finally published in 1941, the book chronicled Agee’s time with Alabaman sharecroppers during the Great Depression, with Evans’s photographs becoming some of the most famous images in the world.
And yet, Agee was equally taken with city life, writing (in an essay collected as Brooklyn Is, with a foreword by Jonathan Lethem) that “Manhattan is large, yet all its distances seem quick and available. Brooklyn is larger, seventy-one square miles as against twenty-two, but here you enter the paradoxes of the relative…an immeasurable proliferation of house on house and street by street…infinite in time in patience and in population as in space.” Clearly, the paradoxes of the city appealed to the young Agee, and he came to reside in Greenwich Village after graduating from Harvard to work as a book reviewer.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
But it was the young medium of film in which Agee most distinguished himself in his lifetime. In a time when film criticism was in its infancy, Agee took the movies seriously, becoming the film critic for The Nation from 1942 to 1948. His film essays, collected in Agee on Film, were often seen as iconoclastic, pitched against popular taste, as in his defense of Charlie Chaplin’s universally loathed Monsieur Verdoux and Jean Renoir’s The Southerner, a film close to Agee’s heart that would go on to Oscar nominations despite being actually banned in Agee’s native Tennessee for its unflattering portrait of farmers. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Agee himself would write one of the most defining southern films—and classic films period—the astonishing Night of the Hunter, directed by actor Charles Laughton in 1955 from a screenplay by Agee (who had already made a name for himself as screenwriter of The African Queen).
Throughout his life, Agee struggled with the book that would become his posthumous masterpiece, A Death in the Family. With his ex-wife and son (the writer Joel Agee) having decamped to Mexico to live with Communist writer Bodo Uhse, Agee fell into alcoholism and died of a heart attack in the back of a New York taxi cab in 1955. No one at the time would have expected that a freelance writer like Agee, with only a few books in print, would go on to have one of the most outsized reputations in literature, equal parts proud Southerner and quintessential New Yorker. The harmony he found between poor Americana and the New York avant-garde would inspire a new generation of New Journalists who would continue Agee’s practice of eccentric, almost evangelical reportage, as well as so-called “autofiction” authors who blurred the line between memoir and fiction just as Agee did in A Death in the Family, which received the Pulitzer Prize in 1958, three years after the death of its brilliant author.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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