New edition of 'A Death in the Family' restores Agee's vision

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- "A Death in the Family" won the Pulitzer Prize a half century ago and became an American literary classic, but it was not the book James Agee wrote.

University of Tennessee professor Michael Lofaro says it isn't the manuscript that Agee left when he died.

More than two dozen chapters were eliminated, broken apart or rearranged in the posthumous editing of Agee's homage to his childhood in Knoxville in the early 1900s.

Now, in the first volume of a planned 10-volume set of Agee's collected works and letters, the University of Tennessee Press has published a more richly detailed narrative that may be truer to Agee's plan. The result could be a revelation to readers puzzled by the book's jumbled flashbacks and incongruous prologue.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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