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Chase Steely

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The Fasola Fellowship

I’m not deaf to the vibrant Country music chatter. Got opinions, but on social media, I made a vow: don't discuss the current thing. Yet, the discourse reminded of something. Donald Davidson was a man of tradition. He liked the old way. Saw a kinship between song meant for singing and verse meant for reading, a stance rare among his…
Chase Steely
April 15, 2024
Blog

Donald Davidson and the Tennessean’s Book Page

“I can claim no ultimate wisdom in the matter. I can only say that I reviewed books in Tennessee for seven years, and during the same period persuaded a great many people to do likewise. The book page that I edited had a very modest beginning in 1924 in the Nashville Tennessean.” - Donald Davidson 1924 unfurled. The weather, customary…
Chase Steely
October 11, 2023
Blog

Victory Ruins

A Review of Victory Ruins (Amazon Digital Services, 2022) by Troop Brenegar. "Lee in the Mountains" by Donald Davidson culminates in the resonant utterance, “Unto all generations of the faithful heart.” These words also served as inspiration for the title of an elusive tome on Southern literature by M.E. Bradford. With a nod to this timeless phrase, Troop Brenegar’s Victory…
Chase Steely
August 14, 2023
Blog

The Tower on the Tyger

“Do fish swim in a whiskey barrel?” was the only logical response when Brandon Meeks, the Bard of Southern Arkansas, asked me to represent the new Southern journal Moonshine & Magnolias at the Upcountry Literary Festival held in Union, SC. You see, Dr. James Everett Kibler was set to receive the William “Singing Billy” Walker Award for Lifetime Achievement in…
Chase Steely
April 3, 2023
Blog

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
BlogReview Posts

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
Blog

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
Blog

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
Blog

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
Blog

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