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07.09.03 Davidson, Donald, a biography by Mark Royden Winchell: Where No Flag Flies: Donald Davidson and the Southern Resistance, published in 2000.

Notes Concerning the Author

Mark Royden Winchell (1948 – 2008) was a biographer, essayist, historian and literary critic. At the time of his death he was Professor of Literature and European Civilization at Clemson University in South Carolina, where he had taught since 1985.

He was born in Ohio and graduated West Virginia University before studying for his PhD at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.  He was considered a traditionalist in literature and an old-fashioned conservative in politics.


Donald Davidson (1893-1968) may well be the most unjustifiably neglected figure in twentieth-century southern literature.  One of the most important poets of the Fugitive movement, he also produced a substantial body of literary criticism, the libretto for an American folk opera, a widely used composition textbook, and the recently discovered novel The Big Ballad Jamboree.  As a social and political activist, Davidson had significant impact on conservative thought in this century, influencing important scholars from Cleanth Brooks to M. E. Bradford.

Despite these accomplishments, Donald Davidson has received little critical attention from either the literary or the southern scholarly community. Where No Flag Flies is Mark Royden Winchell’s redress of this critical disservice. A comprehensive intellectual biography of Davidson, this seminal work offers a complete narrative of Davidson’s life with all of its triumphs and losses, frustrations and fulfillments.

The Society is especially interested in the first part of Davidson’s life, up to his 37th year in 1940, although he remained influential up to the early 1960s.  Winchell’s biography covers the complete story, providing the reader with more than a simple study of a man and his achievements and painting a complete portrait of the times in which Davidson published. Davidson was more directly involved in political and social activities than most writers of his generation, and Winchell provides the context, both literary and historical, in which Davidson’s opinions and works developed.  At the same time, Winchell offers detailed evaluations of Davidson’s poetry, fiction, historical writings, and essays.

Drawing upon a wealth of previously unpublished archival material, including Davidson’s letters and diary, Where No Flag Flies provides unique access to one of the most original minds of the twentieth-century South.  Donald Davidson may not have achieved the recognition he deserved, but this remarkable biography finally makes it possible for a considerable literary audience to discover his true achievement.

Availability of this Book

We suggest Amazon for a used or new print copy.    It is available at jstor as an on-line pdf.