ROBERT PENN WARREN TALKING: Interviews 1950-1978 by Floyd C. & John T. Hiers--Eds. Watkins

ROBERT PENN WARREN TALKING: Interviews 1950-1978

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Warren is saddled with a hagiographic introduction (""He defies labels. He has been a Fugitive, an Agrarian, a professor, a writer, and a public figure in many ways; but when he sits down to talk, he is Red Warren, a full man, and just a man""); but he comes off as a likable-enough figure, whether being candid about his early pro-segregation essay in I'll Take My Stand (to wit: I was wrong, that's all) or patiently de-mystifying his work processes against a never-ending round of symposiums and avid academics trying to nose out some a priori intellectual framework. Still, eighteen interviews seem a good deal more than necessary--especially with interviewers ranging in thoughtfulness from Ralph Ellison to Dick Cavett: ""And if people use the name Kojak or John Travolta around you and they may not ring a bell, you don't feel you're missing anything important in life?"" Apart from a few interesting anecdotes about Warren's student days with Tate and Ransom at Vanderbilt in the Twenties, there's little here that bears endless repetition, and the effect is finally one of look-we've-come-through. Too much of a so-so thing.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1980
Publisher: Random House