Madison Jones Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Madison Percy Jones, Jr., was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 21, 1925, the son of a well-to-do businessman and Mary Temple (Webber) Jones. Madison was raised as a Presbyterian, absorbing an uncompromising moral outlook that dominates his works. Like most “Old South” families, the Joneses sent their son to private high schools so that he would receive a classical education. When Madison was thirteen, his father bought a farm in Cheatham County, north of Nashville, and as a teenager, Jones spent much of his time there, learning to farm and to train Tennessee walking horses.

After high school, Jones enrolled in Vanderbilt University, but he dropped out after three semesters and spent eighteen months working on the farm. He then returned to Vanderbilt for three more semesters before he was drafted in 1945 and sent to Korea, where he served in the military police for two years. When he returned to Vanderbilt, Jones took creative writing courses with the famous Agrarian writer and critic Donald Davidson. Although Davidson liked his writing, Jones returned to the farm for a year after receiving his B.A. in 1949 and seriously considered becoming a farmer.

Having decided to continue with his writing, he went to the University of Florida to study with Andrew Lytle, another prominent Agrarian. In 1951 he received his M.A. That same year, he married Shailah McEvilley. They would have five children. Jones continued his graduate study at the university for two more years, completing all the requirements for a Ph.D. except for writing a dissertation. In 1953 he left to write a novel. That fall he began...

(The entire section is 665 words.)


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Madison Percy Jones, Jr., was born on March 21, 1925, in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Madison Percy and Mary Temple (Webber) Jones. He attended public and private schools in Nashville. In the early 1940’s, Jones farmed and trained horses; the knowledge he gained of the land and people of rural Tennessee would later be reflected in his writings.

From 1944 to 1945, Jones served in the U.S. Army Corps of Military Police in Korea. Shortly thereafter, he entered Vanderbilt University in Nashville and studied under Donald Davidson. After receiving his bachelor of arts degree from Vanderbilt in 1949, he continued his studies under Andrew Lytle at the University of Florida and was awarded his M.A. in 1951. Jones married Shailah McEvilley in February of 1951 and spent the next two years in postgraduate study at Florida, learning from Lytle and writing his early fiction.

In 1953, Jones became an instructor of English at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In 1954, he received a fellowship from the Sewanee Review that enabled him to concentrate more on his writing. He taught at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville during the 1955-1956 school year and then moved to Alabama, where he became a professor of English at Auburn University. In 1957, his first novel, The Innocent, was published by Harcourt, Brace.

Jones eventually became a full professor and writer-in-residence at Auburn, where he remained until his retirement from teaching in 1987. He was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 1968 and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1973-1974, and he has been the recipient of numerous regional awards for his fiction. A member of the Alabama Academy of Distinguished Authors and the Fellowship of Southern Writers, he continues to publish works of long fiction.