Suggested Readings

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Bohner, Charles. Robert Penn Warren. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1981. A good general introduction to Warren’s writings. Views the novel as the story of Jack Burden’s philosophical growth. By examining the past, Jack comes to recognize the paradoxical nature of human isolation and simultaneous kinship through the oppressions of sin that bind all humankind.

Casper, Leonard. Robert Penn Warren: The Dark and Bloody Ground. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960.

Chambers, Robert H., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of “All the King’s Men.” Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977. The best collection of criticism on the novel. Discusses such topics as point of view, character studies, significance of the title, the centrality of the Cass Mastern episode, and the search of Jack Burden for a father.

Feldman, Robert. “Responsibility in Crisis: Jack Burden’s Struggle in All the King’s Men.” In “To Love So Well the World”: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert Penn Warren, compiled by Dennis L. Weeks. New York: Peter Lang, 1992.

Guttenberg, Barnett. Web of Being: The Novels of Robert Penn Warren. Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt University Press, 1975. An existentialist reading of Warren’s novels. Asserts that the greatness of All the King’s Men results from Warren’s decision to make Jack Burden the narrator of and a chief participant in Willie Stark’s story.

Justus, James H. The Achievement of Robert Penn Warren. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981. Examines the entire body of Warren’s work and in that context views All the King’s Men as both a moral fiction and a political novel.

Mizener, Arthur. “Robert Penn Warren: All the King’s Men.” The Southern Review 3, no. 4 (Autumn, 1967): 874-894.

Watkins, Floyd C., and John T. Hiers, eds. Robert Penn Warren Talking: Interviews 1950-1978. New York: Random House, 1980. Contains brief but valuable comments by Warren on the relationship of All the King’s Men to the dramatic versions, the significance of the epigraph, and various other aspects of the novel.