Andrew Nelson Lytle: An Author Profile
"I'll take my stand!" could be considered the life motto of Andre Nelson Lytle because he did indeed take his stand through his numerous fiction and non-fiction works and through his own lifestyle. In 1929 he was one of 12 Southern writers who joined their common historic inheritance into a collection of essays titled I'LL TAKE MY STAND. The essays were a protest over northern ridicule heaped on The South after the Scopes trial. Lytle began a lifetime of devotion to the Agrarian literary movement.
The Agrarians encouraged abandonment of industrialization and a return to the land. Lytle spent a good deal of his life farming. His early adult years he aspired to be an actor in New York, but began writing, which proved to be his real calling. His first book, BEDFORD FORREST AND HIS CRITTER COMPANY, a biography of Civil War hero Nathan Bedford Forrest, is one of the most respected items in anyone's Civil War collection.
Lytle moved into fiction, continuing his themes of the South, the Civil War, the land, ghosts and the interrelationships of all of these, in several short stories and major novels: THE LONG NIGHT, AT THE MOON'S INN, A NAME FOR EVIL, AND THE VELVET HORN. His contributions to Southern literature included teaching at a range of Southern universities, where he influenced such greats as Flannery O'Connor and Harry Crews.
This last survivor of the Agrarian literary movement died in 1995 just before his 93rd birthday. Representing extinct and yet continuing Southern traditions, Lytle first editions will be an increasingly valuable treasure.