Elkins to RPW Letter 11/11/68
Dean Elkins, a graduate student at the University of Louisville, requests permission for a doctoral dissertation on Warren's work; he notes that the materials related to Who Speaks for the Negro? would make an interesting study.
Elkins to RPW Letter 11/11/68 Searchable TextCollapse
11 November 1968
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky 40208
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
Mr. Robert Penn Warren
2495 Redding Road
Dear Mr. Warren:
As an undergraduateat the University of Kentucky six years
ago,I became intensely interested in your poetry and prose, and
I must have known then that your work would ultimately be the
subject of my doctoral dissertation. I am presently a graduate
student at the University of Louisville, and that dissertation
is now beginning to take shape.
Ten days ago I received permission from Mrs. McCann, the
manuscript librarian at UK, to look at hte papers you have placed
there. Since then, I have made five trips to Lexington and shall
continue to go on a regular basis with your approval of my project.
Although the primary topic of my dissertation was initially
a study of your poetry, hte first order of business seems to
be a thorough cataloging of Kentucky's holdings since there is
an abundance of material but only preliminary-finding lists. I
have merely begun that process and am well aware that as I pursue
this investigation the topic of my final work may change: for
example, the manuscripts, transcripts and tapes for Who Speaks
for the Negro? wouldmake an exciting study in and of themselves.
Since I am the only person now working with your papers, Mrs.
McCann has tentatively agreed to allow me to pursue my study to
its termination without interference. Of course, I have not
Zeroxed any of your materials, nor have I used them in any way
beyond the note-taking stage.
I should now like to ask your permission to use the Kentucky
holdings for (1) a publishable catalogue and (2) a doctoral dissertation.
If I discover material for an article, I shall write
for your permission to use that material for purposes other than
the catalogue and dissertation. You may be assured that with my
high regard for your work I shall treat your papers with the
utmost respect, seeking scholarly precision at all times. My two
directors, Professors Leon V. Driskell and Edward R. Hagemann,
will, no doubt, see to the diligence and success of my work.
I realize that this letter is far too long and perhaps too
formal, but I have two additional questions important now in my
study. Do you know where I might locate a script of your un-published
verse play, Proud Flesh, and could you give me some
idea as to the nature of Yale's collection or whom I might contact
at Yale for that information?
I shall certainly forward to you a copy of my work as I
complete it, and I will not utilize any restricted materials
(the poem, "News Photo of Man Coing Down Court House Steps
After Acquittal," for instance) without your express permission.
It is my desire to do the best possible scholarship,
and that only with your permission and advice.
Yours very truly,
Dean R. Elkins