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The Cass Mastern Material: The Core Of Robert Penn Warren's all The King's Men (Southern Literary Studies) Hardcover – March 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0807130407 ISBN-10: 0807130400

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James A. Perkins is the coeditor of Robert Penn Warren’s "All the King’s Men": Three Stage Versions and the forthcoming third volume of Warren’s letters. He is a professor and chair of the Department of English and Public Relations at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Series: Southern Literary Studies
  • Hardcover: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Louisiana State Univ Pr (March 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807130400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807130407
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,021,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James A. Perkins, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and Public Relations at Westminster College, holds degrees from Centre College, Miami University and The University of Tennessee. A poet and a short story writer, he has also edited books on Robert Penn Warren, Robert Drake, David Madden and other southern writers. A Fulbright Senior Lecturer at Seoul National University in 1998, he was given Westminster College's Distinguished Faculty Award in 2006. He is currently working with his colleague, the artist, Nelson Oestreich on a collection of poems and woodcuts titled Bird By Bird Watching.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on March 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Robert Penn Warren published ALL THE KINGS MEN in 1946, and it won the Pulitzer Prize. Its hero, Jack Burden, follows the adventures of a populist Southern politician called Willie Stark. William Faulkner read ALL THE KINGS MEN and singled out the Cass Mastern story as a "beautiful and moving piece. That was his novel. The rest of it I would throw away." Pretty harsh words from Faulkner, but it shows you the regard with which Cass Mastern's story, "Cass Mastern's Wedding Ring," was held in some quarters.

But in other quarters, it was greeted with a puzzled shrug. James Perkins argues that the Cass Mastern story is integral to the book, not some add-on extraneous story. While you could conceivably publish the novel without telling this story, it would detract from the experience Penn Warren wants us to have. In fact the British edition of ALL THE KINGS MEN simply omitted the whole novella length tale, not seeing the point of it.

What this book reveals is that Penn Warren was developing this story for many years, and he was not entirely satisfied with it even after he had won the Pulitzer Prize and after a famous movie had been released starring Oscar winner Broderick Crawford. He kept developing the story into dramatic form. All in all, Perkins reveals, he worked on this material from 1937 to 1960 (of course releasing a lot of other books too, so he wasn't solely preoccupied with this story.) Perkins includes a kind or meandering, pointless interview with dramaturg Eric Bentley, who doesn't seem to remember much, to bolster his story of Penn Warren's fruitless attempts to get a Broadway producer interested in the Cass Mastern play.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Zhang on March 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book includes the short story "Cass Mastern's Wedding Ring" (which became a chapter in ALL THE KING'S MEN), a untitled play about Cass Mastern, and criticism, etc.

The short story itself is interesting but can be a bit too "historic" at times. But basically, it's moral core of ALL THE KING'S MEN.

The play is a special treat for fans of the novel. Because RPW was a poet, he tends to write dramatic poetry. Some of the lines in the play are not realistic, but they are hauntingly beauty. The characters Bella and Phebe has been better developed in the play. Civil War buffs would also love the historical context; Warren really balanced out his love for history with his job as a playwright.
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