Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Elizabeth and Huntington Brown, October 20, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Robert Penn Warren's character

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Partial Transcript: Well, I'm trying to figure that out. Is that right?

Segment Synopsis: Huntington and Elizabeth Brown saw a great deal of Robert Penn Warren, who lived near them for eight years. They discuss Warren's first marriage, and the difficulties. Huntington Brown characterizes Warren as a man of great energy.

Keywords: Brenda Ueland; Elizabeth Brown; Emma "Cinina" Brescia; Emma Brescia; Huntington Brown; Ice cream; Marriage; Personality; Robert Penn Warren; Sinclair Lewis; Wife

Subjects: Brown, Huntington; Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951; Ueland, Brenda; Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989

00:12:38 - Cinina's illness

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Partial Transcript: Yes, they saw a lot of each other.

Segment Synopsis: Brenda Ueland had a psychic come in to visit Emma "Cinina" Warren (Robert Penn Warren's first wife).

Keywords: Brenda Ueland; Cinina Warren; Emma "Cinina" Brescia; Emma Brescia; Health; Marriage; Psychics; Wife

Subjects: Psychics; Ueland, Brenda

00:14:37 - Warren as a tutor

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Partial Transcript: Red--(coughs)--was--(coughs)--an excellent teacher.

Segment Synopsis: Huntington Brown recalls sharing an office with Warren. Warren was a good teacher.

Keywords: Composition; Creative writing; Robert Penn Warren

Subjects: Composition (Language arts); Creative writing; Teachers; Teaching; Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989

00:18:19 - Screening of "All the King's Men" movie

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Partial Transcript: I remember when, uh, "All the King's Men" became a movie.

Segment Synopsis: Elizabeth Brown recalls Warren's nervousness when bringing his friends to see the screening of "All the King's Men". He seemed to be reticent about his work.

Keywords: Adaptations; All the King's Men (Book); All the King's Men (Film); Films; Motion pictures; Movies; West Wardsboro (Vt.)

Subjects: Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989. All the king's men; Yale University

GPS: West Wardsboro (Vt.)
Map Coordinates: 43.029444, -72.8525
00:27:03 - A Japanese wedding

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Partial Transcript: Anyway, they had a--then they moved, about the tenth time down there. And they had a Japanese servant.

Segment Synopsis: Elizabeth Brown recalls a wedding to which they were invited, at which Warren was the best man. Apparently Warren's wife got into the car with the newlyweds as they left for their honeymoon. There was a brief discussion of the Japanese Internment.

Keywords: Japanese; Japanese Internment; Marriage; Servants; WWII; Wedding; World War II

Subjects: Japanese; Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989; World War, 1939-1945

00:32:32 - Warren at the University of Minnesota

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Partial Transcript: Now you'd mentioned that, uh, you and Warren shared an office.

Segment Synopsis: Huntington Brown recalls that Warren was not a particularly good public speaker, but was hired by the interview committee nevertheless. Warren taught composition.

Keywords: Professors; Public speaking; Teachers; Teaching

Subjects: University of Minnesota; Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989

00:38:00 - Democracy in the workplace

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Partial Transcript: Uh, Joseph Warren Beach, did, uh--made a great mistake, I think, uh, introducing democracy into our workshop.

Segment Synopsis: Joseph Warren Beach made a change in the way new professors were able to participate in running the department, and Brown believes this was a problem for the department, because the new professors did not have the experience to make wise decisions.

Keywords: Professors; Teachers; Teaching; Teaching assistants

Subjects: University of Minnesota; Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989

00:42:39 - Eric Bentley

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Partial Transcript: No, Eric Bentley was here part of the time.

Segment Synopsis: Bentley was very interested in the production of a play. Warren consulted with Bentley regarding production details.

Keywords: Eric Bentley; Plays; Theater; Theatre

Subjects: Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989

00:49:35 - Warren's early years at Vanderbilt University

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Partial Transcript: And, did he--do you remember his ever uh, expressing himself on him, in any--

Segment Synopsis: Elizabeth Brown had heard Allen Tate remembering when Warren entered Vanderbilt. Warren had been intending to attend West Point before he lost an eye.

Keywords: Allen Tate; Poetry; Professors; Robert Lowell; Teachers; Teaching; Vanderbilt University; West Point

Subjects: Gardner, Isabella; Lowell, Robert, 1917-1977; Poetry; Tate, Allen, 1899-1979; Vanderbilt University

00:52:02 - Robert Lowell visits Allen Tate

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Partial Transcript: And he came here, I think, because of Allen Tate.

Segment Synopsis: Elizabeth Brown recalls some of the people who visited the Tate house.

Keywords: Allen Tate; Friends; Robert Frost; Robert Lowell; Stephen Spender

Subjects: Frost, Robert, 1874-1963; Lowell, Robert, 1917-1977; Spender, Stephen, 1909-1995; Tate, Allen, 1899-1979; Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989

00:54:12 - The Tates visited the Browns

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Partial Transcript: Did you see much of Tate?

Segment Synopsis: Elizabeth Brown talks about Caroline Gordon, Allen Tate's wife. Gordon and Tate would visit the Browns at musical gatherings. Gordon, a convert to Catholicism, would visit convents, and brought Elizabeth Brown along.

Keywords: Allen Tate; Caroline Gordon; Dorothy Day; Friends

Subjects: Day, Dorothy, 1897-1980; Gordon, Caroline, 1895-1981; Tate, Allen, 1899-1979

01:01:20 - Warren's taste for the macabre

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Partial Transcript: One other thing that occurred to me about Warren that I might ask, uh, in the time that you were, well, both of you were with him, and when you were talking with him, can you recall, um, the kinds of things that was on his mind?

Segment Synopsis: Warren would tell stories about the South, and displayed an interest in rather lurid stories. On the other hand, Warren would also tell lighter stories.

Keywords: Interests; Robert Penn Warren; Stories; Storytelling

Subjects: Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989