tivator of American letters, by virtue of the historical accidentrnthat he was a Fugitive-Agrarian, a Southern poet and criticrnwho took part in the central intellectual movement of 20thcenturyrnAmerica. He deserves recognition for being in the rightrnplace at the right time with the right measure of talent, morerna matter of fate than of free will; but he deserves individualrncredit as well for his unique achievement as a writer, for all hisrnwork and its wide influence.rnAndrew Lytic has believed throughout his long career thatrnall writing is a craft; in this, he has followed such admiredrnmasters as Gustave Flaubert and Henry James and Ford MadoxrnFord. In “The State of Letters in a Time of Disorder,” Lyticrnspoke of his long tenure as editor of the Sewanee Review, saying,rn”At the Review, some five or six thousand manuscripts passrnover the editors’desks each year. Only eighty are printed.” Hernconcedes that “obviously, good things must be rejected” butrnmaintains that, nevertheless, “the quarteriies are needed morerntoday than ever. Their care for language and style and the protectionrnof what is eternal in letters makes them a kind ofrnsupreme court of literary judgment.” It was Lytic himselfrnwho, by taking over the editorship of the Sewanee Review in thernearly 1940’s with his old Fugitive-Agrarian friend Allen Tate,rnhelped make it one of the preeminent literarv journals in thernEnglish-speaking world. And it was Lytle who, by his longrntenure as editor, firmly upheld the craft of writing, maintainingrnthat the term “creative” was wrongly—though frequently—rnused to mean “imaginative.” As he always insisted, “Creationrncannot properly belong to man; it belongs to God.” Since thernreligious perspective dominates all of Andrew Lytle’s writing,rnfor him the craft of writing is the highest possible humanrnachievement, even the best writer being simply man inspired byrnGod as the only true Creator.rnAndrew Lytle sees myth as central to all literature, whichrnmeans that the religious interpretation of history is essential forrnevery writer, whether as a guide when he is writing stories orrnnovels or as a clue to the practice of the best writers at any time.rnHis constant religious perspective is evident in everything hernhas written (Madison Smartt Bell writes in his preface to thernnew edition of A Wake for the Living that “Lytle’s Christendomrnis a society not of corporations but of individual creatures ofrnGod”), and it has had a beneficial influence on many otherrnwriters, starting with Flannery O’Connor, whom he taught atrnthe beginning of her career at the Writers’ Workshop in Iowarnand who would later write that what was most distinctivernabout Southern literature was its unique combination of “mysteryrnand manners.” Though there is no evidence of any directrninfluence on the greatest mythmaker among Southern writers,rnWilliam Faulkner, and no way of proving his indirect influence,rna case can be made that Andrew Lytle’s first, and in my opinion,rnbest book, Bedford Forrest and His Critter Company—stillrnthe best-written of several good biographies of Forrest—hasrnmore than coincidental parallels in Faulkner. Lytle’s book wasrnpublished in 1931, seven years before Faulkner brought out hisrnCivil War stories in The Unvanquished in 1938.rnThough we know that Faulkner based his mythical Confederaternhero. Colonel John Sartoris, on his own real-life greatgrandfather.rnColonel William C. Falkner, there is no doubtrnthat he also drew on his knowledge of the most famous of Confederaterncavalry generals, Nathan Bedford Forrest, who camernfrom Memphis and for a time had his headquarters in Oxford.rnFor instance, though the real Colonel Falkner did not ridernwith Forrest’s raiders in northern Mississippi, the fictionalrnColonel Sartoris in The Unvanquished does so proudly. Moreover,rnFaulkner had him ride into battle on a stallion namedrnJupiter, a fictional counterpart to Forrest’s favorite warhorse.rnKing Philip. The fictional Colonel Sartoris fights in the realrnBattle of Hurricane Creek, near Oxford, where Forrest foughtrnagainst the Yankees, and in an amusing skirmish, he deprives arnYankee battalion of its clothes and then lets them sneak off inrnthe night, as Forrest once forced a Yankee general to escape unclothedrnin Memphis, causing him greater humiliation than byrnviolent capture. Most pertinently, as Lytle’s biography makesrnplain, after the Civil War was over, Forrest, who never lost a battlernbut killed many men in combat, served as Grand Wizard ofrnthe Ku Klux Klan to restore order in the South by striking fearrnin the Carpetbaggers and black Republicans who were trying torntake it over, but then he renounced further bloodshed, saying,rn”I have seen too much of violence, and I want to close my daysrnat peace with all the wodd, as I am now at peace with my Maker.”rnFaulkner’s fictional Colonel Sartoris says, after he has returnedrnfrom defeat to rebuild his plantation and restore orderrnin his native town of Jefferson, Mississippi, killing a couple ofrnCarpetbaggers in the process, “I have accomplished my aim,rnand now I shall do a little moral houscclcaning. I am tired ofrnkilling men, no matter what the necessity or the end. Tomorrow,rnwhen I go to town and meet Ben Redmond, I shall be unarmed.”rnThose words are spoken in “An Odor of Verbena,” thernfinal story in The Unvanquished, and Colonel Sartoris docsrnmeet his end violently at the hands of his enemy, but his sonrnBayard faces down the same enemy without firing a shot andrnso peacefully accomplishes revenge for his father’s death, a significantrnchange in the Sartoris family’s tradition of violence andrnin the South after the Civil War.rnThus, when Faulkner made his fictional ConfederaternColonel John Sartoris relinquish violence after a violent life, hernwas clearly casting him in the mold of Andrew Lytle’s portraitrnof Forrest. The Unvanquished was praised by Lytle as one ofrnFaulkner’s “most successful and least understood novels,” andrnthe title fits Forrest better than any other Southern leader, forrnthough Faulkner applies it to the women more than to the menrnwho survived the Civil War, in a hilarious story he wrote afterrnthe novel called “My Grandmother Millard and General BedfordrnForrest and the Battle of Harrykin Creek,” Faulkner dramatizedrnthe gallant figure of the real undefeated Confederaterngeneral coming to the aid of an old friend, the fictional Confederaternwidow Rosa Millard. Faulkner describes Forrest visitingrnRosa Millard at the Sartoris plantation as “a big dusty manrnwith a big beard so black it looked almost blue and eyes like arnsleepy owl,” a description that agrees with the detailed eyewitnessrnaccount of Forrest quoted by Lytle.rnThough in his story the real General Bedford Forrest meetsrnthe fictional Rosa Millard and helps her marry off a member ofrnher family to one of his officers, Faulkner had Forrest politelyrndecline a breakfast invitation from Granny Millard, because hernis going to be “whuppin” General Smith at Tallahatchie Crossing,rnon the riv’cr not far from Hurricane Creek, while he is headquarteredrnat the fictional town of Jefferson. Lytle in his biographyrnhad Forrest and his Confederate cavalry fighting thernYankees under General A.J. Smith at Hurricane Creek, near thernTallahatchie Crossing, for three days before retiring to hisrnheadquarters at the real town of Oxford.rnWhen L’tle wrote his family memoir, A Wake for the Living,rnalmost half a centurv after he wrote his first book, Bedford For-rn30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn