Critical Thinking

Lazy Afternoon Reruns: “The Old Agrarian-ness of a New Ethos”

In “I’ll Take My Stand: The Relevance of the Agrarian Vision,” originally published in 1980 in Virginia Quarterly Review and re-published online in 2003, the critic Lucinda H. Mackethan writes about “a group of Southern Americans profoundly disturbed by the lack of humane values operating in their world.” She was referring to the contributing authors in the Southern classic I’ll Take My Stand, a small group of perhaps overly nostalgic academics, poets, and critics who looked on a Northern-dominated, heavily industrial country with disdain. But in that phrase, she could have been writing about a lot of modern Southerners, from gun-loving ultra-conservative neophobes to the Gen-Xers who’ve started organic CSAs, letterpress shops, and microbreweries.

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