Cover: In the Heart’s Last Kingdom: Robert Penn Warren’s Major Poetry, from Harvard University PressCover: In the Heart’s Last Kingdom in E-DITION

In the Heart’s Last Kingdom

Robert Penn Warren’s Major Poetry

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674733138

Publication Date: 11/26/1984

250 pages


Available from De Gruyter »

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

In the long poem Audubon (1969) Robert Penn Warren, in his mid-sixties, found his authentic poetic voice and persona. No longer merely a good poet, from then on he has been in his best work a great one. So argues Calvin Bedient in this eloquent and persuasive book.

Bedient, like Warren himself, regards criticism as properly a creative act. He captures the forces that energize the major poetry—Warren’s craving for experience, action, beauty, magnificence, his love of the natural world, his quest for self-knowledge, his hunger for truth and glory. For Bedient, Warren is that rare thing, a poet of tragic joy. Singling out the poems that rank in his judgment as masterpieces, he explores their psychological and metaphysical nuances and probes the sources of their power.

Vision and voice are inseparable, and Bedient gives appreciative attention to the poet’s language, his style, syntax, and diction, including details of prosody such as pauses, line breaks, and wrenchings of meter. Both through illustrative examples and in the context of his readings of individual works, he identifies the distinctive characteristics of Warren’s mature verse. In this book as in his last, Eight Contemporary Poets, which was nominated for a National Book Award, Bedient writes about poetry with rare insight and sensitivity.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

A stack of five bestselling titles from Harvard University Press against a hot pink textured background

Ringing in the New Year with HUP’s 2022 Bestsellers

There is no better way for readers to usher in the new year than by looking back to the books that defined the last. For Harvard University Press, our 2022 bestsellers make up a diverse list of books across time and discipline.