Madison Jones

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the novelist. For Madison Jones the Producer, see Madison Jones (producer).
Madison Jones
Born March 21, 1925
Nashville, Tennessee
Died July 9, 2012
Auburn, Alabama
Occupation Writer
Genre Novels
Literary movement Southern Agrarians
Notable awards TS Eliot

Madison Percy Jones was a novelist born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1925. He published almost a dozen novels, and was considered "one of the major figures of contemporary southern letters".[1]


Madison Jones was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 21, 1925. He was the son of a Presbyterian businessman, and spent his early years living in suburban Nashville. When Jones was 14, his father purchased Sycamore Farm in hill country 25 miles north of the city. At 17, Jones dropped out of Vanderbilt University to become a farmer, moving to Sycamore Farm where he lived for a year and a half. He became associated with the Southern Agrarians, which proved a great influence on his later work.[2]

After graduating from Vanderbilt in 1949 (where he studied under Donald Davidson) and getting a master's degree at the University of Florida (where he was a student of Andrew Nelson Lytle[3]), he taught English at the University of Tennessee before accepting a creative writing position at Auburn University in 1956.[4] He retired from Auburn in 1987, having been a longtime writer in residence.[4][5]

Literary work[edit]

His first novel, The Innocent (1957), was favorably reviewed by Robert Penn Warren, who praised him for his "basic seriousness of intention, and his deep, natural sense of fiction."[4] Success came slowly; his 1967 novel An Exile (originally published in The Sewanee Review), for instance, was shopped around twice by Pat Kavanagh before André Deutsch, who had turned it down the first time, picked it up.[6]

Allen Tate referred to him as a southern Thomas Hardy; other critics have also noted his "traditional social values and stern Puritanism."[4] Though he is seen as a central figure in American literature, he is not well known; the first monograph on him wasn't published until 2005.[7] He is regarded as having an "essentially religious outlook"; his later work is much darker than his earlier work, "primarily because he has seen the South losing the 'redemptive memory' which gives life meaning and substance."[2]

He received The Sewanee Review Fellowship for 1955/56,[4] the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 1968, and the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973. The historical novel Nashville 1864, set during the American Civil War, received the inaugural Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction in 1998.[8] and the winner of the T.S. Eliot Award for Creative Writing.


  • The Innocent (1957)
  • Forest of the Night (1960)
  • A Buried Land (Sometimes I Walk the Line) (1963)
  • An Exile (1967)
  • A Cry of Absence (1971)
  • Passage Through Gehenna (1978)
  • Season of the Strangler (1982)[9]
  • Last Things (1989)
  • To the Winds (1996)
  • Nashville 1864: The Dying of the Light (1997)
  • The Adventures of Douglas Bragg (2008)


  1. ^ George P. Garrett, James McKinley, ed. (2003). Southern excursions: views on Southern letters in my time. LSU Press. pp. 179–€“81. ISBN 978-0-8071-2850-3.  C1 control character in |pages= at position 5 (help)
  2. ^ a b Canfield Reisman, Rosemary M.; Booker-Canfield, Suzanne. Contemporary Southern men fiction writers: an annotated bibliography. pp. 237–€“47.  C1 control character in |pages= at position 5 (help)
  3. ^ "Southern Writer Andrew Lytle Dies". Lexington Herald-Leader. 15 December 1995. p. B2. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Beck, Charlotte H. (2001). The fugitive legacy: a critical history. LSU Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-8071-2590-8. 
  5. ^ Bishop, Scott (12 September 2007). "'Faces and Stories: A Portrait of Southern Writers' opens Saturday in exhibition at AU's Jule Collins Smith Museum". Auburn University. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Obituaries: Pat Kavanagh". The Daily Telegraph. 21 October 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Gretlund, Jan Nordby (2005). Madison Jones' garden of innocence. University Press of Southern Denmark. p. 8. ISBN 978-87-7674-001-6. 
  8. ^ "Madison Jones is named winner of Michael Shaara Award". The Advocate. 19 July 1998. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Strangler Unconventional". The Daily News. 14 March 1982. p. 6B. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 

External links[edit]

  • Madison Jones entry in the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture