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By Steven L. Davis

The 1st Texas-based author to realize nationwide cognizance, J. Frank Dobie proved that real writing springs simply from the local soil of Texas and the Southwest. In best-selling books reminiscent of stories of Old-Time Texas, Coronado's teenagers, and The Longhorns, Dobie captured the Southwest's folks background, which used to be speedy disappearing because the usa turned ever extra urbanized and commercial. popular as "Mr. Texas," Dobie sarcastically has virtually disappeared from view--a casualty of adjusting tastes in literature and shifts in social and political attitudes because the 1960s.In this energetic biography, Steven L. Davis takes a clean examine a J. Frank Dobie whose "liberated brain" set him on an highbrow trip that culminated in Dobie turning into a political liberal who fought for hard work, loose speech, and civil rights good earlier than those motives grew to become appropriate to such a lot Anglo Texans. Tracing the complete arc of Dobie's existence (1888-1964), Davis indicates how Dobie's insistence on "free-range considering" led him to such radical activities as calling for the full integration of the collage of Texas through the Forties, in addition to taking over governors, senators, and the FBI (which secretly investigated him) as Texas's major dissenter in the course of the McCarthy period.

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Several prominent political figures were also on hand, including birth control activist Margaret Sanger and famous anarchist Emma Goldman. Dobie never made it to Mabel Dodge’s apartment, but he did get a chance to see one of Emma Goldman’s speeches while he was in New York. “I didn’t get any ideas” from her, he wrote later, “only glimpses of another world and a feeling of vitality. ”12 The New York writers represented the future of American literature, and Dobie could not have been further removed from them in outlook or from texas to new york, 1913–1914 temperament.

6 Dobie had hoped to teach English poetry at UT, but he was soon disabused of that notion. With only a master’s degree, he was relegated to freshman composition, and he found the academic environment at UT even stuffier and more regimented than Columbia. The chair of the English department, Dr. Morgan Callaway, was a noted specialist in grammar and had written entire books on such subjects as The Absolute Participle in Anglo-Saxon and The Temporal Subjunctive in Old English. ”7 fighting conformity, courting bertha, 1914–1916 Dobie tried to do the straight scholarship.

As far as Dobie was concerned, such scholarship sapped the life from literature. He was expected to obediently produce essays on such subjects as “Platonism in the Renaissance Age,” but he had little interest in such abstractions. ”6 Columbia was one of the first universities to teach American literature as a separate course, and Dobie took a class from the professor, William Porterfield Trent, who had a national reputation as an expert in the field. Dobie wrote later, however, that he didn’t remember anything the professor said.

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