In Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
, Walker Evans and James Agee’s sprawling, conscience-stricken account of three sharecropping families in rural Alabama, Agee ends his foreword with a call to action of a kind: “This is a book
only by necessity. More seriously, it is an effort in human actuality, in which the reader is no less centrally involved than the authors and those of whom they tell.” The moral argument—that it is the reality of these people, above all, that must be completely seen and understood—is what necessitates, in some sense, the bizarre structure of Agee ...
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