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The Fugitive Poets in 1956: (l to r) Allen Tate, Merrill Moore, Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom, Donald Davidson. Courtesy National Endowment for the Humanities.

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The Fugitives were a group of poets and literary scholars who came together at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, around 1920.


The poets published a small literary magazine called The Fugitive from 1922 to 1925 which showcased their works. Although its published life was brief, The Fugitive is considered to be among the most influential publications in the history of American letters. The Fugitives made Vanderbilt a fountainhead of the New Criticism, the dominant mode of textual analysis in English during the 1st half of the 20th century.

Intro The Fugitives NPT

Intro The Fugitives NPT

The group was also remarkable for the number of its members whose works would claim a permanent place in the literary canon. Many were also influential teachers of literature. Among the most notable Fugitives were John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Merrill Moore, and Robert Penn Warren.[1] Other members included Walter Clyde Curry, Donald Davidson, and Ridley Wills. Less closely associated were critic Cleanth Brooks and poet Laura Riding.

The Fugitives partly overlapped with a later group, also associated with Vanderbilt, called the Southern Agrarians.

See alsoEdit


  1. The Fugitives and Agrarians: Brief Biographical Sketches, Vanderbilt University. Web, May 16, 2015.

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