Study Guide

John Crowe Ransom - The Runaways

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The Runaways

The Runaways was a Fugitive splinter group. When members of the Fugitives started to question the group's ideology, they formed the Runaways. The Runaways had their own statement of principles, and they also loved the South—just not as much as their predecessors.

There were other differences: the Runaways liked farmer's markets more than farmers; they preferred the Discovery Channel in HD rather than strolls on real dusty roads; and they were more into Greek myth than myths about a grand Southern aristocracy.

H.L. Mencken

The Runaways loved to hate H.L. Mencken because he himself was such a hater. He just couldn't crank out the criticism quickly enough. When he accused the Fugitives and the Runaways of perpetuating a "benighted image" of the South, they put their foot down.

Mencken got really crazy about the South, basically associating it with the Ku Klux Klan, intolerance, racism, backwardness, and anti-intellectualism. He even called Southerners "snakecharmers" (source), which didn't win him any friends in Mississippi.

Allen Tate
On Again, Off Again Member

Tate never thought he'd ever be anything but a hardcore Fugitive, but he dabbled in Runaway membership because he always liked to be on the cutting edge. Plus, his biographies of Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis were permanently on the group's reading list—so flattery got him everywhere.

John Crowe Ransom
PR Director

John just had to be a member. He didn't see membership in the Runaways as disloyal to the Fugitives any more than he saw being a fierce defender of the South as being disloyal to the United States. John had to have his finger in any proverbial pie whenever the South was concerned. Any opportunity to promote the culture of the Old South and to wag a finger at the desiccating influence of the North, and John was there.

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