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John Crowe Ransom

John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974) was an American poet, essayist, and social commentator.

John Crowe Ransom was born in Pulaski, Tennessee on 30 April 1888 the son of a Methodist minister.

At age 15 Ransom entered Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and graduated from that institution in 1909 at age 21. From 1910 to 1913 he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England.

In 1914 Ransom was appointed to the English department at Vanderbilt. His career was interrupted by World War I and he served as an artillery officer in France.

After the war Ransom returned to Vanderbilt and was a member of the English department faculty.

In 1930 Ransom joined with 11 other Southern Agrarians to publish the agrarian manifesto I'll Take My Stand which bemoaned the tide of modernism that appeared to be sweeping away traditional southern and American culture. In the 1930s Ransom published various essays influenced by his agrarian beliefs, but by 1945 Ransom had turned away from the agrarian position.

His collection of essays, God Without Thunder was published in that same year which was followed by two other volumes, The World's Body in 1938, and The New Criticism in 1941.

In 1937 Ransom departed Vanderbilt and accepted a position at Kenyon College in Ohio.

In 1945 his Selected Poems was published. After arriving at Kenyon he became the editor of the Kenyon Review and remained in that position until 1959.

In 1966 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In 1972 a collection of unpublished essays from the Kenyon Review were published.

Ransom died at Gambier, Ohio on 3 July 1974. He is buried behind Chalmers library on the campus of Kenyon College.