rest and I Us Critter Company, he consciously returned to therntheme lie had started with, that tlie Southern spirit was bestrnepitomized bv Forrest, a commoner who became a general,rnwho was victorious even in defeat. Lytle says:rnIn the Confederacy’s declining fortunes one man stoodrnout in the minds of Middle Tennessee and the contiguousrnstates. General Forrest was the epitome of the spiritrnand tiie power to win. People saw in him themselves atrntheir best in a crisis. He won while all others were retreatingrnor being whipped.rnMore than he is known by any other name, Andrew Lytle isrnknown as an Agrarian; in fact, he has been called the Agrarian,rnand his last major book, A Wake for the Living, is a family historyrnthat is like a long postscript to his early Agrarian essay,rn”T’he Hind Tit,” in lU lake My Stand, because it traces thernmoNcmcnts of the Lytlcs from the Scottish border with Englandrnto Ireland to Pennsylvania and then to North Carolina andrnTennessee, telling how one family retained its loyalty to thernland it farmed, though in several different places and under severalrndifferent governments. The Agrarian philosophy he espousedrnin 1930 seems to have stemmed from his earliest ancestorsrnand to have been passed down to him in unbrokenrnfamil- succession. Andrew Lytle’s whole view of life stems fromrnthe family, first and last, which he believes to be the bastion ofrnSouthern society even now and which he defines realistically:rn”A family is not a democracy, for the parents hold the authorit.rnIt is hierarchical always, even to the spoiled last child,” withrnGod so ercign in the universe and the family I lis chosen instrumentrnof faith and loyalty, generation after generation. TornLtle’s unifying vision, the individual is always part of a largerrnwhole, wliich reaches upward and outward from self to family,rnfamily to land, land to state, state to world, and wodd to Heaven.rnHis Agrarianism is clearly much more than a belief in thernfarmer’s life as a model: it is a religious belief, like that ofrnThomas Jefferson, the Founding Hither of American Agrarianism,rnwho wrote long ago in his Notes on the State of Virginiarnthat “those who labor in the earth are the chosen people ofrnGod.” Lytle in his writing has consistently seen man as a linkrnin the Di’inc Chain of Being, which stretches from the humanrnindiidual through nature up to God.rnThough he has traveled widely in pursuit of his literary career,rnI ,ytlc has maintained tics to his nati’e Tennessee, returningrnfrom his tenure as teacher of writing at the University ofrnIowa from 1946 to 1947 and the University of Florida fromrn1948 to 1961 to Scwanee, not far from his birthplace inrnMurfreesboro (a town founded by his ancestor, William Lytle),rnto teach at the University of the South, live in The Log Cabinrnat Montcagle, and edit the Sewanee Review from I96I to 1972.rnHe won his greatest fame as a historical novelist, writing aboutrnthe Civil Wiir in ‘I’he Long Night (1936), about DeSoto’s Spanishrnexpedition to the New World in At the Moon’s Inn (1941),rnand about a post-Civil War family’s adventures in The VelvetrnHorn (1957), his most experimental (and most praised) novel.rnNow past age 90, he continues to write and live at Montcagle,rnwhere the Agrarians of old so often gathered, though as Vanderbiltrnhistorian Paul Conkin has written in The SouthernrnAgrarians (1988):rnIn 1980 the three survivors—Lanier, Lytle, Warren—returnedrnto iinderbilt for a final Agrarian reunion, a conferencernon Agrarianism fifty years after the publicationrnof /’// lake My Stand. Only Lytle, echoing the oldrnthemes, seemed an unreconstructed believer. Throughrnthe years, in letters, essays, interviews, he has kept uprnthe fight. Finally, in a sense, Agrarianism had shrunk tornthe eady “kid” of the group, to the ever faithful Andrew.rnIt may seem to Paul Conkin, a respected historian but one ofrnmany unsympathetic critics of Agrarianism, that the movementrnhad “shrunk” to a single living writer, Andrew Lytle, but in factrnAgrarianism stands as a perennial philosophy, upholding notrnsimply farming as a way of life but man as cultivator of the bestrnin nature, including his own nature; the craft of writing, whichrnin its highest sense is literature, one of the fine arts; literature,rnwhich at its best is myth, the religious interpretation of history;rnand histor-, which at its best portrays man in his right relationrnto nature and to God.rnTo give the most fitting tribute to Andrew Lytle, Agrarian ofrnAmerican letters, would be to say that what General NathanrnBedford Forrest has meant to Andrew Lytle, Andrew Lytlernmeans to his readers today. Both kinds of American heroes willrnalways be needed: those who in time of war are, like NathanrnBedford Forrest, heroes of the sword and those who in time ofrnpeace are, like Andrew Lytle, heroes of the pen. crnGuidesrnby Gloria WhelanrnYou’d have thought he’d had enoughrnof the land’s grasp and hookrngrowing up on a scant farm, nourishedrnon winter carrots and green potatoes,rnthe harsh earth hard-heartedrnas his German father, der Melancholiker,rnwho joylessly birched him every day.rnSpring dunging, summer diggingrnsugar beets, cutting strawrnon fields ravenous for farmers’ blood.rnHe fled to the auto townrnwhere money in those halcyon daysrnwas easy to harvest.rnWhen he grew richrnhis holidays were spent croppingrntrout, ducks and deer,rnbut not alone. He hired guidesrnto save him from the dangerous places,rnprovident men to tell him where slyrntrout lay shimmying in the riffles,rnwhere wary deer wintered,rncowering in the somber cedar swamps,rnguides who pitched snug tents,rnprovided food, a happy home,rnthe best of them, the French Canadianrnwho had no English words, but sangrnto the storm, and kept the fire going.rnThe guides. All those fathers.rnMAY 1994/31rnrnrn