Anderson, Richard. Robert Coover. Boston: Twayne, 1981. This thorough presentation of Coover’s work for a prestigious American literature series includes a remarkably condescending treatment of The Public Burning (Chapter 4, as part of a general discussion of “the later works”), grudgingly praising its inventiveness but accusing it of lack of emotional range.
Cope, Jackson I. Robert Coover’s Fictions. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986. This study relates Coover’s work in general, and The Public Burning in particular, to Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the “dialogic novel,” in which the single authorial persona of traditional fiction is replaced by a multiplicity of voices, with the reader left to choose among them.
Gordon, Lois. Robert Coover: The Universal Fictionmaking Process. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1983. A detailed study of Coover’s methods. Chapter 4 looks at mythical, linguistic, and social aspects of The Public Burning.
Viereck, Elisabeth, “The Clown Knew It All Along: The Medium Was the Message.” Delta 28 (June, 1989): 63-81. As the subtitle suggests, this essay applies Marshall McLuhan’s theories to the view of the media presented in The Public Burning.