"Working in the Theater with Robert Penn Warren."
A major figure in the making of the contemporary American
theater reminisces about his collaborations with Robert Penn Warren,
documenting their relationship with previously unpublished correspondence
and suggesting that Warren, had he written more for the stage, might well
have had a shaping influence on the evolution of modern drama.
Noel Polk, "The
Text of the 'Restored' Edition of All the King's Men."
All the King's Men appeared in
1946 in a text that had been changed in hundreds of ways by Harcourt
Editors; cumulatively these editorial interventions changed the novel in
serious ways, mostly in changing the character of the narrator, Jack
Burden, and his relationship to the events he narrates. The 'restored'
edition, published in 2001, indeed restores Warren's original text
wherever it was possible, and so made available a text much closer to what
Warren had written initially. This essay offers a general explanation of
the differences between the two versions of All the King's Men, a
detailed listing of some of the more important differences, and a brief
explanation of why I chose one reading over another.
Bill McCarron and
Paul Knoke, "From Gent to Gentil: Jed Tewksbury and the Function of
Literary Allusion in A Place to Come To."
A Latin aficionado, medieval scholar, and college
professor, protagonist Tewksbury struggles emotionally to sort through his
often sordid past. In the process, his allusions to a French chante fable,
Virgil's Aeneid, and Dante's Divine Comedy illuminate both
his sinning and his awakening to the power of redemptive love.
Aimee Berger, "Le
Silence du Bonheur and the House of Forgiveness: Space and Silence in
Katrin Meise reformulates Wittgensteins famous dictum--"What
we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence--in a way that is
particularly germane to a reading of Warren's novel, Flood:
"What we pass over in silence, we must speak about."
Warren establishes a complex aesthetic that incorporates silence into the
circuit of discourse, forcing characters to confront the limitations of
language, even as they realize the redemptive power of telling a "true"
Steven D. Ealy,
"'Ex Exciting Spiral': Robert Penn Warren on Race and Community."
Warrens contribution to I'll Take My Stand,
"The Briar Patch," has been the
subject of controversy from its beginning when Donald Davidson tried to
exclude it from the collection on the grounds that it was too progressive.
Later in life, Warren distanced himself from it by characterizing it as a
defense of segregation. However, a closer reading of "The
Briar Patch" reveals that Warren set such a high
standard for "separate but equal"
that he ultimately undermines that doctrine and prepares the way for his
re-examination in Segregation and Who Speaks for the Negro?
C. Jason Smith,
"Philosophers, Fools, and Kings: Notes on The Brothers Karamazov
and All the King's Men."
A comparative analysis of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The
Brother's Karamazov (1879-80) and Robert Penn Warren's All the
King's Men (1946) based on the archetypal characters found in the work
of both authors. The Philosophers, whose world-view is based in
post-enlightenment reason, operate in a dialectical relationship with the
Fools who interact with the world through faith. Culturally, the
resolution of the dialectic between reason and faith yields the synthesis
of the King who embodies reason and faith, the temporal and the eternal,
in his position of god-given power. However, both Dostoyevsky and Warren
actively reject the social imperative towards Kingship as a dangerous,
immoral myth and offer instead an alternate synthesis grounded in mutual
responsibility and brotherly love.
"From Fox to Hedgehog: Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men as a
Gloss on Leo Tolstoy's View of History."
This essay explores Warren's All the King's Men as a
figurative gloss on the discussion of human freedom and responsibility
appearing in Leo Tolstoy's second epilogue to War and Peace. Isaiah
Berlin's 1953 work on Tolstoy, The Fox and the Hedgehog, provides a
theoretical framework for this analysis.
John K. Crane,
"'Tough Talk in the Big Easy': Warren's Use of History and Styron's The
Confessions of Nat Turner."
On a 1968 panel, Robert Penn Warren, Ralph Ellison, and
William Styron discussed the use of historical fact in fiction. The
audience vociferously held Warren's use in All the King's Men more
valid than Styron's in The Confessions of Nat Turner. Two analogies
with recent films seem to support that contention.
John Burt, "The
Associative Style in Warren and Ashbery."
Robert Penn Warren and John Ashbery write out of different
backgrounds and quite often appeal to different audiences, but each is a
master of the "associative style."
A comparative look at both poets is highly instructive and serves to
deepen our appreciation of their art.