Date of Award

12-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

History

Advisor

Anderson, Paul C

Committee Member

Grubb , Alan

Committee Member

Andrew , Rod

Abstract

This thesis examines the life of Donald Grady Davidson (1893-1968) and the forces - external and internal - that drove him to contribute to I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition, in 1930 and remain an avid apologist for Southern Agrarianism for the remainder of his life. Davidson, who began his literary career as a devotee of modernism, opposed much of his native culture yet suddenly changed directions around 1925 and embraced the distinctiveness of his Southern heritage. This thesis argues that events surrounding the Scopes Trial in 1925 caused Davidson to reevaluate his position on the South and on Southern culture. As he saw it, modernism was unable to produce or sustain true art. Since he held art to be foundational to any vibrant society, he sought a culture that could support art. In his mind, the Agrarian South represented the best option the modern world had remaining to perpetuate a healthy view of art and culture.

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