Annotated Bibliography on Robert Penn

Categories: Writer
  • Warren Ealy, Steven P. “Corruption and Innocence in Robert Penn Warren’s Fiction”. Modern Age. Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2005. Wilmington, DE. April 6, 2016. < penn-warrens-fiction>

This website has an article which argues about Warren’s cynical view of the word by using evidence from his writing. The paper states, quite plainly, “There are no innocent men in the sense of “guiltless” in Robert Penn Warren’s world. There may be innocent men in the sense of ‘ignorant’ or “naïve’, but generally this innocence is tack taken to avoid overt responsibility for actions or outcomes one is somehow involved in.

” (Ealy 1) He uses two of Warren’s well-known novels, citing very specific moments in each of them that lends to the idea of Warren’s views on society. The novels in question, All the King’s Men and At Heaven’s Gate draw many parallels to this concept with the main characters, one with politics, and the other in business.

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I believe the article is reliable as it was published the main Intercollegiate site. It was easy to read, coming up with numerous examples in each text that would allude to the author’s original intent considering the idea of innocence. He also provides footnotes at the bottom of the article. I would recommend this article on account that it’s an observance that comes up time and time again from different writers when contemplating Warren’s work. This idea that none of us are innocent is not new with this specific poet and novelist.

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However, it must be acknowledged that the source of this article is notably conservative in nature, especially in regards to politics.

  • Epstein, Joseph. “Who Speaks for the Negro?, by Robert Penn Warren”. Down the Line. Commentary. October 1, 1965. April 2, 2016. negro-by-robert-penn-warren/

This article is a review on Warren’s book Who Speaks for the Negro? Epstein speaks gentle praises of the book, saying “Although a large part of Who Speaks is made up of interview caught on that most impersonal of modern instruments, the tape recorder, it is in many ways a very personal book: interspersed with the interviews are editorials, long analytical essays, and fragments of autobiography. The interviews themselves are conducted with an utter lack of condescension—no matter whether warren is talking with Carl Rowan, formerly head of the United States Information Agency, or a freshman girl in Tougaloo College in Mississippi.” (Epstein)

Epstein believes Warren is allowing this book to be a platform for the views of prominent black figures on integration and various other philosophies. The interviews, for he lists important parts of them, are quite interesting, showing Warren to be the type to not be afraid of inconsistencies in argument if he finds them. Joseph Epstein is credible source with an impressive amount of experience as an essayist and short-story author. I would recommend it as a good, enjoyable read with good flow.

  • Ferriss, Lucy. Sleeping With The Boss: Female Subjectivity And Narrative Pattern In Robert Penn Warren. Baton Rouge, La: Louisiana State University Press, 1997. eBook Collection. TWU Library, Denton, TX. April 1, 2016.

This book is a study that suggests that Robert Penn Warren was more aware of the female mind or conscious than we may think when observing his work. This source is credible due to being published by the Lousiana State University Press. Because of this, it’s heavily dotted with footnotes along the bottom of the pages. All of these sources appear to also be credible, judging by the names used. The book has a bibliography, as well as the footnotes which use the sources.

The author, Lucy Ferniss is assistant professor of English and creative writing at Hamilton Colelge in Clinton, New York. I would use this source to further the idea that he was progressive in more ways than one, although this way was not so obvious. At this time, after all, the female consciousness in writing was a rarity. Still, by modern standards, women were still mere plot devices which doesn’t mean much to me at all. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t considered this side of thinking with Warren as it’s a subject I’m sure is rarely touched on.

  • Lane , Joseph H., Jr “The Stark Regime and American Democracy: A Political Interpretation of Robert Penn Warren’s “all the King’s Men””. The American Political Science Review 95.4 (2001): 811-828. JSTOR. TWU Library, Denton, TX. April 3 2016.

In this article, the author details that despite being a book steeped in politics, All the King’s Men is often overlooked for it’s possible political insight. “In this essay, I take issue with the weak analysis of the political character of All the King’s Men and show why it should be studied carefully by political scientists who wish to understand American democracy.”(Lane 1) He allows other interpretations to try and take root, but can back up his own theories. Joseph H. Lane Jr. is a credible source as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Emory and Henry College in Virginia.

The paper is further credible as it was published by The American Political Science Review. I might recommend this article to someone who is more familiar with the politics of Huey Long, the governor that Warren’s Willie Stark character is supposedly comparable with. Lane does point out that Warren denies the connection. However, even if one doesn’t have the knowledge to make comparisons, the paper is worth a read.

  • Mohrt, Michel. “Robert Penn Warren and the Myth of the Outlaw”. Yale French Studies 10 (1952): 70-84. JSTOR. TWU Library, Denton, TX. April 5, 2016.

This article was particularly interesting and discussed what might have inspired Robert Penn Warren’s outlook in his writing. It suggests he had a particular, possibly idealized view of characters in his novels. “John Brown became a myth and it seems that this myth so captivated the imagination of the writer that he will never do anything else, in his novels, than develop variations of this same theme.”(Mohrt 78) The author is credible as he was published by Yale French Studies. Mohrt provides detailed footnotes at the bottom of each page. I might use this in a presentation to point out other possible influences on Warren’s work. The reading, however, can be a bit difficult as you may have to frequently check for word definitions at the bottom. It is also a bit dated.

  • Murphy, Paul V. The Rebuke Of History: The Southern Agrarians And American Conservative Thought. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. eBook Collection. TWU Library, Denton, TX. April 3, 2016.

While this book doesn’t necessarily focus on Warren’s writing, I think it provides some insight on where he was at a younger time in his life. It argues that although the Agrarian movement was failure, it still managed to successfully have an influence on society. (Murphy) It discusses Warren when his political ideologies were considerably more conservative. I think this is important to really consider when looking at his earlier works. Not to mention people may not understand exactly what Agrarian means, and the difference between that and conservatism. Paul V. Murphy is assistant professor of history at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, leading me to believe he is credible. It’s received several awards, one for Outstanding Academic Title.

  • Salyer, Matthew. “Were just what we are, little Manty’: racial passing in Robert Penn Warren’s Band of Angels.” The Mississippi Quarterly 66.1 (2013): 79+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

This article is a criticism of Warren’s novel Band of Angels. In it, Sayler pulls a variety of quotes and observations on the book written by many credited writers. Citing Forrest G. Robinson, the article states “Because Band is Warren’s first novel to directly address issues of race, Amantha’s “narrational” problem seems to provide a “good index” for her creator’s “general treatment of these issues”” (Salyer) The book itself is an extremely problematic platform to claim race as a major theme when the character Amantha, a biracial girl in a time before the civil war, experiences things unrealistically, somehow emerging from the plantation without having any concept of understanding discrimination in the world she is in.(Salyer) The writer even goes so far as to accuse Warren of losing touch with his theme, saying “the “narrational” logic of the story is little more than the move from one fiction of white domesticity to another through a series of obvious psychosexual crises and melodramatic scenarios.”(Salyer) The source is credible, being published by Mississippi State University. I would use this to show the faults of Warren as he tried to progress; to show another facet of his development.

  • Simpson, Lewis P. “The Loneliness Artist: Robert Penn Warren” The Fable Of The Southern Writer. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1994. eBook Collection. TWU Library, Denton, TX. April 2, 2016.

This book touches on many southern authors, as the title suggests. In Warren’s chapter, Simpson uses quotes from Warren to state that while he felt pulled to the south, he always felt like he wasn’t wanted there. “I wanted to live in the South, you see; I’m a refugee from the south, driven out, as it were…l always felt myself somehow squeezed out of the south.” He (Simpson 140) He states that Warren’s attachment to exile, even self imposed, has figured into his writing. “Do we detect in Warren’s writing a fundamental element of the autobiographical?” (Simpson 141) In which I find the concept interesting, and wonder if this has to do with his development and change in morals regarding race as he aged. He longed for the idea of the South, but found others in his home did not want to follow suit in his change of heart. The author is credible as he was a professor at Lousiana State University. The same university published the book. The reading is fairly easy. I would use it to look into the idea of Warren’s writing being autobiographical.

  • Szczesiul, Anthony. “The Conservative Aesthetic of Warren’s Early Poetry”. Style 36.2 (2002): 222-240. JSTOR. TWU Library, Denton, TX. April 2, 2016

This article details on how early influences on Warren’s life impacted his thoughts on politics and literary subjects. It suggests that there was a running connection between the two. This makes sense considering that as his views on race in his early years, which often tied to politics, changed to more integrationist thinking, so did his writing. (Szczesiul) This was somewhat of a difficult read for me with the way it was edited. It also heavily delves into a lot of names to keep track of. Warren’s language is also considerably more race-charged, quoting him using the n-word. Still, it’s a very credible source having been published by the University of Massachusetts. The end of the article has plenty of works cited. Anthony Szczesiul is also the Chair of English, associate professor at the same college. Its information filled, but can be a bit of a dry read.

  • Wright, Edward. “Robert Penn Warren’s experiment in identity: ‘Tale of Time’ and Audubon: A Vision.” The Mississippi Quarterly 66.4 (2013): 669+. Literature Resource Center. TWU Library, Denton, TX. April 7, 2016.

Wright’s article discusses more themes that come through in Warren’s writing. This article is interesting in that it alludes to Warren having a sense of romanticism and transcendentalism, despite being openly against Emerson’s version of it. (Wright) Specifically, he touches on two of Warren’s well-known works, Tale of Time and Audubon: A Vision. He describes how Warren uses his poetry to discover the internal, personal identity, while reconciling with the collective identity. (Wright)

Personally, I was amused to find exactly how ‘romantic and transcendent’ these poems were, after reading that he projected a different attitude rec rdina he work of fellow poets. Wright UNIT picked apart the experimental dream poetry, including many quotes from Warren, trying to fill in the pieces. The reading itself isn’t difficult. It can, however, get tiresome if you’re not familiar with literary terms like ‘solipsism’, and I am not. The author of the article sourced everything at the bottom. The source is credible as it was published by the Mississippi State University.

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Annotated Bibliography on Robert Penn. (2021, Sep 23). Retrieved from

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