Lee in the Mountains, Part 2

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Donald Davidson’s (1893-1968) Lee in the Mountains was one of the first pieces we ran for the Abbeville Review when it was launched last April.  Davidson was one of the more important Southern intellectuals of the twentieth century.  His forays into both fiction and non-fiction helped establish the framework for what became known as the Southern agrarian movement.  His essay “A Mirror for Artists” in I’ll Take My Stand identified the South as the one place in American society that had resisted the headlong plunge into industrial society and all of its inherent evils, most important the lost of identity and cultural self-awareness.  Art, he suggested, would better flourish in smaller communities free from the centralization of urban America.  But it was not for the preservation of the South that the Southern artist should be esteemed; it was for the preservation of a traditional America that the South best represented.  In essence, the Southern tradition in the arts was the American tradition.  Davidson argued in a self-aware conclusion that the artist had to accept his role as a person and carry the standard of tradition into the political arena.  There, he would cease to be an artist, but he would fulfill his duty to the agrarian tradition.  “Whether he chooses, as a citizen, to be a farmer or to run for Congress is a matter of individual choice; but in that general direction his duty lies.”

Lee in the Mountains best represents this position.  This poem was a bugle call for all Southerners to follow Lee and honor his heroic defense of tradition.  Lee had put down his sword for the pen.  Davidson replaced his pen with the sword.  Below is Davidson himself reading the poem.  Enjoy, as we are all “generations of the faithful heart.”

About Brion McClanahan

Brion McClanahan is the author or co-author of six books, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America (Regnery History, 2017), 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her (Regnery History, 2016), The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, (Regnery, 2009), The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution (Regnery History, 2012), Forgotten Conservatives in American History (Pelican, 2012), and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes, (Regnery, 2012). He received a B.A. in History from Salisbury University in 1997 and an M.A. in History from the University of South Carolina in 1999. He finished his Ph.D. in History at the University of South Carolina in 2006, and had the privilege of being Clyde Wilson’s last doctoral student. He lives in Alabama with his wife and three daughters. More from Brion McClanahan

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