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00:00:00 - Meeting Robert Penn Warren

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Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Mary Wyvell for the Robert Penn Warren Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Wyvell discusses her first encounters with Warren, when she was a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota. Wyvell also recounts her experiences as a student under Warren. Warren's grading methods and practices are briefly mentioned. Warren's life outside of class is described, especially in a party setting. Following Warren's time in Minnesota, the two corresponded a few times, mostly on his novels.

Keywords: Considerate; Courteous; Grading; High standards; James Joyce; Modern literature; Robert Penn Warren; Socializing; The University of Minnesota

Subjects: American literature--20th century; Education; Friendship; Poetry; Professors

00:11:10 - Warren as a reader / music / "All the King's Men"

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Partial Transcript: Have you seen him then since?

Segment Synopsis: Wyvell comments on the notion that Warren is not good at reading aloud. Warren's musical ability and that of his wives is explored. The novel "All the King's Men" is briefly discussed. Warren's writing habits during that time are also mentioned.

Keywords: All The King's Men (Book); Eleanor Clark; Emma Brescia; Music; Reading; Robert Penn Warren; Saul Bellow; Students; The University Of Minnesota; Writing processes

Subjects: American literature--20th century; Friendship; Plays; Poetry

00:16:20 - Theatrical adaptation / letters

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Partial Transcript: There of course were other writers on campus, Saul Bellow being one.

Segment Synopsis: Wyvell describes her experience with the play version of "All the King's Men." The letters that the two exchanged and their contents are also mentioned. The reasoning behind Wyvell writing about those novels in particular is revealed.

Keywords: All The King's Men (Book); At Heaven's Gate (Book); Robert Penn Warren; The Flood (Book); The University of Minnesota

Subjects: American literature--20th century; Friendship; Plays; Professors

00:20:47 - Poetry versus novels

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Partial Transcript: Did, uh, you make any distinction betwe--did you have any different reaction toward his poetry than toward his fiction...

Segment Synopsis: Wyvell expresses her preference for Warren's novels over his poetry. Wyvell's desire to read more of the poetry is also mentioned. Wyvell briefly mentions her time as a graduate student under Warren in the English department at the University of Minnesota.

Keywords: English; Fiction; Graduate students; Poetry; Robert Penn Warren; The University of Minnesota

Subjects: American literature--20th century; Friendship; Novels

00:22:14 - Wyvell as a teacher

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Partial Transcript: How were you assigned to him?

Segment Synopsis: Wyvell recounts the hiring process of herself as Warren's teaching assistant. The courses that she taught under Warren are also mentioned. Wyvell's educational journey is described, from receiving her master's degree to a PhD much later.

Keywords: Anthony Trollope; Cecil A. Moore; Dissertations; Edith Wharton; Joseph Warren Beach; Modern literature; Robert Penn Warren

Subjects: American literature--20th century; Education; Friendship; Professors

00:26:36 - Warren's students / Warren teaching literature

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember any other students?

Segment Synopsis: Wyvell is asked if any of Warren's former pupils have since become famous. Wyvell also relays Warren's opinions on being a teacher of literature. Warren's process for grading student work is explored. Warren's objectives and aspirations for his literature students are also revealed. An example of Warren's suggestions to a student (Wyvell) in a fiction class is given as well.

Keywords: Expression; Fictional elements; James Joyce; Manuscripts; Robert Penn Warren; Students; The University of Minnesota; The dead; Universal expression

Subjects: American literature--20th century; Education; Friendship

00:32:33 - Writers / stories

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Partial Transcript: Did he talk about, uh--do, do you have an impression of writers that he particularly liked?

Segment Synopsis: Wyvell talks of the writers that inspired Warren. Notable Southern writers include Cleanth Brooks and Eudora Welty. The stories that Warren told during parties are recalled.

Keywords: Catherine Anne Porter; Cleanth Brooks; Eudora Welty; Funny; Gatherings; Robert Penn Warren; Southern writers; Stories

Subjects: American literature--20th century; Friendship; Storytelling