Robert Penn Warren's 1946 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the King's Men is one of the undisputed classics of American literature. Fifty years after the novel's publication, Warren's characters still stand as powerful representations of the moral dilemmas faced by individuals in positions of power. All the King's Men had its genesis in Warren's stage play Proud Flesh, unpublished in his lifetime. He also wrote a subsequent unpublished play titled Willie Stark: His Rise and Fall and a later dramatic version of the novel that shared the title All the King's Men.
This volume is the first to collect all three dramatic texts and to publish Proud Flesh and Willie Stark. Proud Flesh is particularly fascinating for what it reveals about the development of All the King's Men and Warren's changing perceptions of its characters and themes. The other plays, as post-novel writings, provide a forum for Warren to clarify his intentions in the novel. The editors' introduction to this collection reviews the composition history of the works and their relationship to the novel and to each other.
The new perspectives on Warren's writing presented in Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men": Three Stage Versions provide a glimpse into a creative mind struggling with a compelling story and offer readers another way of looking at this American classic. This book is an essential reference in Warren studies that will give students of All the King's Men another context from which to consider Warren's novel.