The Fugitives were a group of poets and literary scholars who came together at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, around 1920. They published a small literary magazine called The Fugitive from 1922-1925 which showcased their works. Although its published life was brief, The Fugitive is considered to be one of the most influential publications in the history of American letters. The Fugitives made Vanderbilt a fountainhead of the New Criticism, the dominant mode of textual analysis in English during the first half of the twentieth century.
The group was also remarkable for the number of its members whose works would claim a permanent place in the literary canon. Many were also influential teachers of literature. Among the most notable Fugitives were John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Merrill Moore, Donald Davidson, William Ridley Wills, and Robert Penn Warren. In "The Briar Patch", Robert Penn Warren provided a look at the life of an exploited black in urban America. "The Briar Patch" was a defence both of segregation, and of the doctrine of "separate but equal," enshrined by Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Less closely associated were the critic Cleanth Brooks and the poet Laura Riding.
The Fugitives partly overlapped with a later group, also associated with Vanderbilt, called the Agrarians.
- The Fugitives and Agrarians, Vanderbilt University.
- Polsgrove, Carol (2001). Divided minds: intellectuals and the civil rights movement. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-02013-7. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "Vanderbilt's Fugitive poets featured in PBS special to air on WDCN", Vanderbilt University.
- "The Fugitives", Rhodes College.
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