Madison Jones is a central figure in American literature, but paradoxically not well-known. He writes about conflicts between the native and the alien, tradition and progress, and innocence and experience. He is the author of eleven novels, including The Innocent, An Exile (film: I Walk the Line), A Cry of Absence, Season of the Strangle, and Nashville 1864: The Dying of the Light. His novel Herod's Wife appeared in 2003. He is the winner of the T.S. Eliot Award for Creative Writing. Like his fellow novelists George Garrett and David Madden, who have contributed to this volume, Jones shares the regret at the loss of inherited values. He has been praised by the critics Ashley Brown, Monroe Spears, and Lewis P. Simpson, as an important transitional writer. And according to contemporary writers Madison Smartt Bell, William Hoffman, and Lee Smith, his novels are lessons in the possibility of the immediate. As the essays in this collection show, Madison Jones has a dark view of human experience, but also self-knowledge and compassion. He has succeeded in finding his own voice and has created an emphatically moral world that transcends its Southern particulars.