19th-century Southern politics, “Tennessee’snWar of the Roses” (about thenfeuding Taylor brothers) and “A KarlnMarx for Hillbillies” (about Arkansas’snRabelaisian Governor, Jeff Davis). Vancenwas not alone. Humanistic sociologistsnare a Southern ttadition. That was true ofnVance’s colleague Odum and it is true ofnhis successor at Chapel Hill, JohnnShelton Reed, co-editor of the Vance essaysnand one of the contributors to AnBand of Prophets,nA Band of Prophets is a collection ofnsome of the papers given by the cream ofnSouthern scholarship at a conferencenheld at VanderbUt University in observancenof the 50th anniversary oiVllTakenMy Stand. There is some irony in Vanderbilt’snsponsorship of this respectfulncelebration. The university and thenNashville business community, untilnquite recently, were anxious to benmodern and progressive and were deeplynembarrassed by the only two things theynhad that were of interest to the outsidenworld—“country” music and the Agrariannwriters. Both prejudices have beennovercome, but one fears for the wrongnreasons. Despite the irony, these papersnare the most significant commentary tonappear yet on the Agrarian work; theynare, themselves, important contributionsnto the still-to-be-written history ofnthe life of the mind in the South. Reed’snpaper is concerned with the degree tonwhich the Agrarian statement and movementnadumbrated a Southern nationalismnanalogous to European movements.nIt is the most original and groundbreakingnof the essays, although they arenall richly varied and worthy of attention.nCharles P. Roland describes admirablynthe Southern historical background ofnthe 1920’s out of which /’// Take MynStand emeiged. Lewis P. Simpson considersnthe Agrarian cast against the intellectualnhistory of Western man andnconcludes that they were a part of thenRepublic of Letters engaged in artisticnrevolt against modernity and its solvents.nGeorge Core presents an astute history ofnthe New Criticism and its relation to thenAgrarian movement. Robert B. Heilmanngives a Northerner’s carefully considerednappreciation of the prophetic power ofnthe work. Louis D. Rubin celebrates thensuccess of/’// Take My Stand as a piece ofnliterature, as a poetic work in the traditionnof Christian humanism. The leastnsatisfying part of A Band of Prophets isnthe transcribed discussion between thenthree living Agrarians: Lyle H. Lanier,nRobert Penn Warren, and Andrew Lytle.nDisappointing is a relative term here,nsince the discussion was skillfully led bynCleanth Brooks, certainly one of America’snmost inspired scholars. (Brooks,nindeed, should be awarded the titlenThirteenth Southerner. He was just toonyoung by a hair to be in /’// Take MynStand.) As the editors of A Band ofnProphets point out, the surviving Agrariansnhave maintained a remarkable stabilitynof viewpoint; their discussion takesnup almost as if/’// Take My Stand ^2& anconversation left off yesterday.nOut perhaps that is what I find disappointing.nLanier and Warren have longnbeen cut off from the day-to-day life ofnthe South .Only Lytle is still rooted there.nOne gets the sense that the former twonare fighting yesterday’s rather than today’snbattles. Warren’s preoccupationnwith Nixon leads him at times very nearnthe banality of any conventional Northeasternnuniversity professor. (As if a politiciannlying were something new, or ofnvery high priority for a social commentatornin a country where millions of people’snincomes are disappearing beforentheir eyes, where nearly half the familiesnare broken, and where as many asn150,000 children were kidnapped,nraped, enslaved, and murdered in onenyear.) Lanier, quite rightly, is still concernednabout preserving a humane scalenagainst gigantism in business and financenand about protecting the naturalnworld against destruction and pollution.nThat is all well and good, and the continuitynis consoling, but these threats tonthe humane order do not loom quite sonlarge, proportionately, as they once did. Inwould argue that the plain people of thenSouth and perhaps of America have succeedednto a remarkable degree in humanizingnthe city and the factory—notncompletely but to a remarkable degree.nThe problem of economic and politicalngigantism is secondary, a problem solvablengiven sufficient will and intelligence.nOur pressing crisis is not industrialnpollution but cultural pollutionn(though, of course, the two are related,nwhich was a large part of the burden ofnthe Agrarian message). What threatensnus most is not the unintended disruptionnfostered by urban-industrial life butnthe intentional destruction wroughtnby morally and intellectually corruptnpolicies—the deliberate discouragementnof religion, family, community,nand tradition.nThat is why I find Lytle’s commentsnthe most rewarding. He still has the oldnfire, still keeps the original enemy innview, but seems to realize that the enemynmay wear more than one face. Lytle isnPassions in A merit anAtiDidiiij! lu pri-.s.s inliirmitiion. otu’ Ms. [r.iin.TH’ MiniiisnIrom Illinois:n. . . wus scMiunii’