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Madison Percy Jones was a novelist born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1925. He published almost a dozen novels, and was considered "one of the major figures of contemporary southern letters"
His first novel, The Innocent (1957), was favorably reviewed by Robert Penn Warren, who praised him for his "basic seriousness of intention, and his deep, natural sense of fiction." Success came slowly; his 1967 novel An Exile (originally published in The Sewanee Review), for instance, was shopped around twice by Pat Kavanagh before Andrￃﾩ Deutsch, who had turned it down the first time, picked it up.
Allen Tate referred to him as a southern Thomas Hardy; other critics have also noted his "traditional social values and stern Puritanism." Though he is seen as a central figure in American literature, he is not well known; the first monograph on him wasn't published until 2005. He is regarded as having an "essentially religious outlook"; his later work is much darker than his earlier work, "primarily because he has seen the South losing the 'redemptive memory' which gives life meaning and substance."
He received The Sewanee Review Fellowship for 1955/56, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 1968, and the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973. The historical novel Nashville 1864, set during the American Civil War, received the inaugural Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction in 1998. and the winner of the T.S. Eliot Award for Creative Writing.