It was generally believed that the original manuscript of Agee’s killed article [which spawned Let Us Now Praise Famous Men] had been destroyed—or lost for good—until his daughter discovered it in a collection of manuscripts that had been sitting in his Greenwich Village home for years: a 30,000-word typescript simply titled “Cotton Tenants.” This June, the piece was finally published—released by Melville House as a stand-alone text alongside an assortment of Evans’s photographs.
For the first time, we can compare Praise to the husk of its original form. It’s a raw split-screen glimpse into the process of witnessing itself: how does the morally outraged mind begin to arrange its materials? And then—once it runs into doubt, or begins to doubt itself—how does it rearrange them all over again?
SoLit: Southern Literature in Motion is the Oxford American’s newest video offering from filmmaker Dave Anderson. In this inaugural episode, Anderson interprets “Telegram” by Wendy Brenner, a soulful essay from the OA's Fall 2013 issue that reflects on fatherhood, competitive running, and the discovery of an antique twenty-six-foot telegram—an epic love letter to legendary Olympic runner Jim Beatty.
In 1982, three schoolboys from Mississippi set out to remake Raiders of the Lost Ark, and they didn’t stop remaking it until it was done, seven years later. They were Chris Strompolos, a potbellied and unexpectedly charismatic Indiana Jones; the director, Eric Zala, Strompolos’s power-nerd counterpart, who also played Belloq, Indy’s nemesis; and Jayson Lamb, a quirky Bible Belt vegetarian, Buddhist, and sometime nudist, who was the cinematographer, makeup artist, and special effects master. Their film, Raiders of the Lost Ark: theAdaptation, bears no resemblance to most other childish film endeavors, begun and abandoned over the course of a school holiday, if not an afternoon. Theirs is an act of creative ingenuity, a feat of endurance, a testament to a childhood era free of supervision and scheduling. It is a movie.