Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Robert Penn Warren, won three Pulitzers

Robert Penn Warren
It is the birthday of poet, novelist and literary critic Robert Penn Warren (1905), whose novel All the Kings Men (1946) won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. He also won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979, and served as Poet Laureate of the United States. No other writer has won Pulitzers for both poetry and fiction. He also was awarded the Congressional Medal of Freedom. All the Kings Men was inspired by the rise of legendary Louisiana politician Huey Long, who served as governor and U.S. senator. Warren had been grappling with the themes of political power and moral corruptions since his days as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University. When he taught at LSU, Warren watched the rise of Long and his writing developed into All the King's Men. The book is considered one of the best in American literature. Warren helped start the literary organization Fellowship of Southern Writers and founded the literary journal The Southern Review. As an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, Warren became a member of the poet group known as the Fugitives. With some of them, he later formed a writers group known as the Southern Agrarians along with Donald Davidson, Allen Tate, John Gould Fletcher, Andrew Nelson Lytle, and John Crowe Ransom. The Southern Agrarians were largely responsible for the revival of Southern literature in the 1920s and 1930s.

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