Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Jean Bressler


A prominent feature of the interwar period, and of that since 1945 in American literature, was the Southern Renaissance. This literary rebirth had important consequences in poetry and criticism through the work of a number of writers. Robert Penn Warren was one such writer who “sowed the seeds” for his Southern rebirth of literature. Warren, along with such American writers as Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, J. D. Salinger, and John Updike, endeavored to unearth the answer to the question of how a man should live in a fragmented and fractured society. In seeking this information, man was in turn seeking his own self-identity. Robert Penn Warren understood this dilemma which plagued man, and he incorporated this major theme of recent fiction into all of his novels. While such writers as Bellow, Malamud, and others utilized their own method for developing the self-identity theme, Warren thought it appropriate to use light and dark imagery as his means for theme development, and in doing so, Warren has ingeniously merged the two elements—theme and imagery—to achieve a truly worthwhile artistic goal.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of English and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1969 Paul Anthony De Leo.

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