Last Cavalier: The Life and Times of John A. Lomax, 1867-1948 by Nolan Porterfield (review)

Last Cavalier: The Life and Times of John A. Lomax, 1867-1948 by Nolan Porterfield (University of Illinois Press, 1996)

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Last Cavalier: The Life and Times of John A. Lomax, 1867-1948 by Nolan Porterfield (review)

by Beverly B. Patterson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 4: The South in the World

University of Illinois Press, 1996

In 1898 an unsigned article in theĀ University of Texas MagazineĀ closed with a romantic description of the cowboy: “no man in all the world can ever take the vacant place of ‘the last cavalier.'” Nolan Porterfield believes this article, “Minstrelsy of the Mexican Border,” to be John Lomax’s first published commentary on matters that would “form the core of his life’s work.” Borrowing the image almost a century later, Porterfield layers it with new meanings, presenting a decidedly unromantic view of Lomax himself as the “Last Cavalier” in an engaging biography that reads much like a novel.