Last modified on May 29, 2017, at 18:51

Robert Penn Warren

Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) was an American novelist and poet. His works include All the King's Men (1946), Promises (1957), and The Cave (1959). He won Pulitzer Prizes for All the King's Men and Promises.[1]

Life and works

Warren was born April 24, 1905, the oldest of three children of a banker and a schoolteacher.[2] He planned to join the Navy, but lost his sight in one eye when his younger brother hit him with a stone, and could not enlist.[3] He entered Vanderbilt University, where he was part of a group of conservative poets called the Fugitives, and later earned a master's degree at the University of California and studied at Oxford University.[4] He helped the established the "New Criticism," but did not take criticism seriously, and found his poetry and novel-writing more important.[5]

He wrote several interesting novels, including Night Rider (1939), about the tobacco war, All the King's Men, about an idealistic politician who corrupts everyone around him, At Heaven's Gate (1943), World Enough and Time (1950), about a controversial murder trial in Kentucky, Band of Angels (1956), and The Cave (1959).[6] He also wrote a long narrative poem, considered to be a verse novel, Brother to Dragons (1953), a historical novel about the murder of a slave, and focused on poetry in his later years. He died September 15, 1989.

America's most eminent man of letters in his later years, and certainly one of the greatest Southern writers, Robert Penn Warren has increasingly come to be known for his poetry. Ghostly Parallels is a close examination of the heart of his poetic corpus-the eight collections published between 1935 and 1976: Thirty-Six Poems; Eleven Poems on the Same Theme; Promises; You, Emperors, and Others; Tale of Time; Incarnations; Or Else; and Can I See Arcturus from Where I Stand? [1]

Some Works

  • John Brown: The Making of a Martyr (1929)
  • Thirty-six Poems (1936)
  • An Approach to Literature (1938), with Cleanth Brooks and John Thibaut Purser.
  • Understanding Poetry (1939), with Cleanth Brooks.
  • Night Rider (1939). first published novel.
  • Eleven Poems on the Same Theme (1942)
  • Understanding Fiction (1943), with Cleanth Brooks.
  • Selected Poems, 1923 – 1943 (1944)
  • All the King's Men (1946). Novel
  • Fundamentals of Good Writing: A Handbook of Modern Rhetoric (1950), with Cleanth Brooks
  • Segregation: The Inner Conflict in the South (1956)
  • Promises: Poems: 1954 – 1956 (1957)
  • Selected Essays (1958)
  • All the King's Men: A Play (1960)
  • You, Emperors, and Others: Poems 1957 – 1960 (1960)
  • The Legacy of the Civil War (1961)
  • Who Speaks for the Negro? (1965)
  • Selected Poems: New and Old 1923 – 1966 (1966)
  • Incarnations: Poems 1966 – 1968 (1968)
  • Audubon: A Vision (1969). Book-length poem
  • American Literature: The Makers and the Making (1974), with Cleanth Brooks and R.W.B. Lewis
  • Or Else: Poem/Poems 1968 – 1974 (1974)
  • Democracy and Poetry (1975)
  • Selected Poems: 1923 – 1976 (1977)
  • A Place to Come to (1977), last published novel.
  • Now and Then: Poems 1976 – 1978 (1978)
  • Brother to Dragons: A Tale in Verse and Vorces - A New Version (1979)
  • Rumor Verified: Poems 1979 – 1980 (1981)
  • New and Selected Poems: 1923 – 1985 (1985)
  • Portrait of a Father (1988)


External links

Further reading

  • Steven D. Ealy. "Corruption and Innocence in Robert Penn Warren's Fiction," Modern Age Volume 47, Number 2; Spring 2005 online edition