August 5, 1998

Contact: Lew Harris

(615) 322-2706

Vanderbilt's Fugitive poets featured in PBS special to air on WDCN


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Southern literature aficionados may want to set their VCR's for WDCN (Channel 8) at 2 a.m. Sunday for a documentary that interviews or profiles more than two dozen writers, including some of Vanderbilt's famous "Fugitive" poets.

Titled "Tell About the South," the 90-minute program chronicles Southern literature from 1920 to the 1940's. WDCN is airing the documentary as it comes down on a live "feed" from PBS Sunday morning and will later air it during prime time, probably sometime in October.

The documentary focuses first on the Fugitive poets, including Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom and Robert Penn Warren, who took their name from the literary magazine they founded at Vanderbilt University in 1922.

Young and gifted (all three were Rhodes Scholars), they turned "regional" into a badge of honor. From Vanderbilt, their influence radiated outward throughout the nation, fueled by the 1930 publication of "I'll Take My Stand." Subtitled "The South and the Agrarian Tradition," this essay collection provided a philosophical and political rationale for literature that drew its sustenance from the land and the farmer's virtue and cultivation. It was a counterweight to what many perceived as the technology and rootless modernity of the North.

For more information, call WDCN viewer services at 615-259-WDCN.


Vanderbilt University is a private research university of approximately 5,900 undergraduates and 4,300 graduate and professional students. Founded in 1873, the University comprises 10 schools, a public policy institute, a distinguished medical center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education and human development, engineering and music, and a full range of graduate and professional degrees.

For more news about Vanderbilt, visit the News and Public Affairs home page on the Internet at

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Document updated August 31, 1998.