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(Frances Homolka / The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) Frances Homolka / The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

City poet

James Agee, canonized this month by the Library of America, is best known for his film criticism and his fearless reportage on rural Southern poverty. But his true masterpiece was his posthumous novel, with its depiction of the middle-class urban South of his childhood.

By Alan Jacobs
September 25, 2005

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FIFTY YEARS AGO, on May 16, 1955, James Agee's heart stopped in a Manhattan taxicab as he was on the way to a doctor's office. He was only 44, but had already suffered several heart attacks. Despite his illness, he had managed to all but finish his novel, ''A Death in the Family," in which he recreated the inner world ... (Full article: 1964 words)

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