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Chase Steely

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The Attack on Leviathan, Part V

XIII. The Dilemma of the Southern Liberals Originally published in The American Mercury, 1934 “The Dilemma of the Southern Liberals” Back when wild-eyed suffragettes were on the losing end of Oklahoma Drills with King George V’s horse, Vanderbilt and Sewanee were Southern football giants, and the Bull Moose Party was hawking the square new deal, Southern liberals—all hopped up on…
Chase Steely
December 2, 2022
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The Attack on Leviathan, Part 4

X. American Heroes Originally published as “A Note on American Heroes” in the Southern Review (1935). Whatever else we lack, we do not lack great memories. We have heroes, and we want to possess them affectionately as a mature nation ought. The American mind is divided against itself. Our approach to “what terms we may possess our heroes” is as…
Chase Steely
October 7, 2022
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The Attack on Leviathan, Part 3

VI. Still Rebels, Still Yankees Originally published as two essays in the American Review and can be found in the anthology Modern Minds. Many will recognize this chapter’s title from another book of Davidson’s collected essays with the same title published in 1957. Davidson begins recollecting a meeting of Southern writers in Charleston, SC. In 1932, Davidson penned a brief…
Chase Steely
August 4, 2022
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The Attack on Leviathan, Part 2

I. The Diversity of America Parts of this chapter (along with several others) are from “Sectionalism in the United States,” Hound and Horn, VI (July-September, 1933). The link to Davidson’s “Sectionalism” essay provides some context of its genesis—some of which is a smidge uncomfortable. In The Idea of the American South (1979), Michael O’Brien portrays Davidson as a misfit compared…
Chase Steely
July 15, 2022
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The Attack on Leviathan, Part 1

“In 1938 appeared the clearest and most courageous of the Agrarian documents, Donald Davidson’s Attack on Leviathan.” – Richard M. Weaver Russell Kirk tells the story of discovering Davidson’s book in 1938 as a sophomore at Michigan State in the introduction for its reprint in 1991. Kirk writes, “The book was so good that I assumed all intelligent Americans, or…
Chase Steely
July 8, 2022
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The Keeper of the Family Story

The advent of my coming and going to another world was not through a portal handcrafted from a felled silver-barked tree of old, but the factory-made casket of my Father. My people bury in several places–my Father, a stone’s throw from Sarah Cannon, right down the street from where Tate was roused to write his Ode. He died at 61…
Chase Steely
March 17, 2022
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Southern Distinctiveness

Have you ever accidentally used the wrong mushrooms in a recipe inducing you to think the South is some type of hallucination? Me neither–I reckon we aren’t enlightened enough to grasp such concepts. Until recently, I never pondered ideas like “regional consciousness” or “Southern distinctiveness”—truth be told, “provincial” seemed too overdressed to feel comfortable amongst my hand-me-down vocabulary—and not a…
Chase Steely
February 24, 2022