The Ballad of Billie Potts

Robert Pen Warren

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ISBN: 9781933480442

The Ballad of Billie Potts

  Author:   Robert Pen Warren  
  Artist :   P. John Burden    
  Publisher:  Bunim and Bannigan

One of the most significant early works of Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) —the American writer and literary critic who is the only person to have won Pulitzer Prizes in both fiction and poetry —The Ballad of Billie Potts has, in the decades since it was released in Warren’s 1943 volume Selected Poems, proven far more universal than its setting between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers in western Kentucky might suggest.

Inspired by the folk tales of Warren’s native state, The Ballad of Billie Potts is, on its face, a simple, if unsettling, story:

A murderous innkeeper, named Billie Potts, and his wife have a son — Little Billie — whom they both adore. In an attempt to impress his parents, Little Billie attempts to rob and kill a passing traveller…but, in his fumbling inexperience, botches the job and returns home in humiliation. In anger, his father turns him away to make his fortune on his own. Years later, having prospered out West, Little Billie returns to the land between rivers —only to be killed for a bag of gold by his own parents.

With thematic and moral keynotes that would concern Warren for a lifetime —the passage from childhood innocence into guilt, the journey that ends with a return to the father or to the place of origin, the undiscovered self, and a certain mysticism that unites each individual with humankind and with nature —The Ballad of Billie Potts is a haunting tale that is firmly rooted in its time and place of origin, and also deeply relevant to contemporary concerns, such as capitalism and the destruction of our planet.

Now, publisher Bunim & Bannigan, Ltd. makes this classic of mid-century American literature available to the modern reader with the release of a new edition featuring a thought-provoking new introduction from John Burt and powerful, fantastic-realist illustrations by artist P. John Burden.

Details and Specs
ISBN associated with this title: 9781933480442
Item BU0019
PublisherBunim and Bannigan
PublisherBunim and Bannigan
Published on December 22 2017
Language eng
Pages 128
Format Paperback
Dimensions10(in) x 7(in)
Shipping weight0(g)
Robert Pen Warren (1905-1989) was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic. He was one of the founders of New Criticism. He founded the literary journal The Southern Review with Cleanth Brooks in 1935. In 1947 he received Pulitzer Prize for the Novel for his novel All the King's Men (1946) and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979. He is the only person to have won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry.

Visual artist P. John Burden is a classically trained Canadian and British subject. Burden's work includes original acrylic paintings, watercolour paintings, and traditional and modern artist's prints. His art is symbolic or surrealist, using representational skills from a lifetime of drawing, painting, and design. Burden also illustrates books for all ages, and has work in collections worldwide.