Philosophers, Fools, and Kings: Notes on The Brothers Karamazov and All the King's Men

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Robert Penn Warren Studies, ISSN: 2472-1204, Vol: 2, Issue: 1, Page: 9

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Smith, C. Jason
Robert Penn Warren; Southern literature; American Poetry; American Literature; American Studies; English Language and Literature
article description
A comparative analysis of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brother's Karamazov (1879-80) and Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men (1946) based on the analysis of archetypal characters found in the work of both authors. The Philosophers, whose world-view is based in post-enlightenment reason, operate in a dialectical relationship with the Fools who interact with the world through faith. Culturally, the resolution of the dialectic between reason and faith yields the synthesis of the King who embodies reason and faith, the temporal and the eternal, in his position of god-given power. However, both Dostoyevsky and Warren actively reject the social imperative towards Kingship as a dangerous, immoral myth and offer instead an alternate synthesis grounded in mutual responsibility and brotherly love.