"In August the fields begin to whiten" - News from The Baffler

June 6, 2013
Dear Sorensen,

Cotton Tenants

It's here, it's here! Cotton Tenants, the rediscovered typescript of what would eventually become James Agee and Walker Evans's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, was co-published by The Baffler and Melville House on Tuesday, June 4. First excerpted in Baffler #19, the completed work has already made the Amazon bestsellers list, and can be purchased through Melville House or any of your usual bookselling suspects. 

Praise for Cotton Tenants
That's the first thing to be said about this essay:
Fortune was crazy not to run it. . . . Magazines do like to have advertisers. Which only makes what The Baffler and Melville House have done more valuable.
John Jeremiah Sullivan, Bookforum

The new book is a more accessible take on Agee's Alabama trip, offering a sublime showcase for his frequently masterful prose style.

The original magazine article was never 
published. . . What readers are about to discover now is what all the fighting was about.

Christine HaughneyNew York Times
Late in August the fields begin to whiten more rarely with late blooms and more frequently with cotton and then still thicker with cotton, like a sparkling ground starlight; and the wide tremendous light holds the earth beneath a glass vacuum and a burning glass. The bolls are rusty green, are bronze, are split and burst and splayed open in a loose vomit of cotton. . . . There is a great deal of beauty about a single burr and the cotton slobbering from it and about a whole field opening. The children and once in a while a very young or a very old man are excited and eager to start picking. It is a joy that scarcely touches most men and any women, though, and it wears off in half a morning and is gone for a year.
James AgeeCotton Tenants: Three Families
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