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World Enough and Time: A Romantic Novel

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  166 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In the admixture of wilderness and elegant society that was 1826 Kentucky, Jeremiah Beaumont, a brilliant, imaginative lawyer, stood trial for murdering his benefactor and father figure, the politician Colonel Cassius Fort. Now all the documents are in hand to reconstruct Beaumont's life story - his crime, his trial, his ultimate sin and punishment - and the historian-narr ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 465 pages
Published 1950 by Random House
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Ruth Sims
Dec 27, 2013 Ruth Sims rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those classic novels that makes me feel extremely small and ignorant. Who am I to criticize someone as gifted and honored as Robert Penn Warren? I read it some years ago, and don't remember many details except that it was a very, very long book and depressing as hell. I remember feeling such pity for Jeremiah, the protagonist, who came to such a ghastly end, and terrible pity for his poor wife, Rachel, disgraced and mad and grieving. I remember, probably more than anything else, ...more
Dec 14, 2014 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was familiar with Robert Penn Warren by name only when I picked up WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME. Reading the classics frequently involves setting aside whatever pop-cultural impressions of the work one has accumulated in order to go to it on its own terms, so there is an element of bliss in having no preconceived notions about a novel other than that it is most likely a worthy companion because it has stood the test of time. And WORLD is definitely a worthy companion.

Warren’s life nearly spans the tw
Mar 01, 2012 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I lay there and shuddered that all man's life should be but the twisting and contortion of a cat hung up strangling in a string for sport of boys."

It is perhaps inevitable that Robert Penn Warren's first post-"All the King's Men" novel would suffer in comparison. And "World Enough and Time," set mostly in 1825-26, does. This 1950 novel goes on entirely too long — it's Warren's longest novel, I think — but there is enough of Warren's dazzling wordplay to recommend it.

Jeremiah Beaumont's life doe
May 25, 2011 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an uneven and melodramatic retelling of a real murder and trial in 1820s Kentucky, and I just loved it. Warren (who is most famous for his novel All the King’s Men) draws the reader into the near-frontier of 19th century Kentucky, and swirls us around in the (coincidentally) uneven and melodramatic minds of Jeremiah Beaumont and his wife, Rachael. Esoteric 19th century politics, damn depressing characters, and inevitable tragedies all combine into an unexpectedly moving novel. A few ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it
First three chapters very dull, with documentary framework very intrusive. Rest of book very interesting, if sometimes overly philosophical. Assume is actually based on described historical record; if not framing device often clumsy (particularly in beginning of book). Quite a potent example of what I saw termed "honor culture" in an article a while ago. Some motivations very difficult to understand or sympathize with outside the honor culture framework, but book is a good entree into the justif ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark and depressing, yet strangely ~at times~ fascinating. A constant train wreck of misguided honor and deceit. Comparable, I would suppose, to a lengthy 465 page visit into the minds of a brilliant sociopath (Beaumont) and his equally disturbed, duplicitous wife/friends/enemies. Written by a Pulitzer Prize/Poet Laureate winner, I was slightly disappointed by his exceptionally redundant writing style. Gifted author, yes....but the fact remains, this semi-factual tale could have been told more i ...more
John Harder
Jun 21, 2013 John Harder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jeremiah Beaumont, living in the Kentucky frontier is pushed to murder in defense of his wife’s honor. He never regards his victim as a fully developed human being – he only sees his one alleged dishonorable act.

The tables are turned when Beaumont, a highly complex, intelligent, feeling human being is judged by his community.

This novel is a tragedy in the classic sense – one sees that the natures of Beaumont and his wife, and their inability to let matters rest doom them to heartache.

World Enoug
Sep 04, 2007 Sahar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i spent years writing essays involving this book, using it as the basis for all my projects in and out of school; poems, videos, pictures, whatever. I was more entranced by this writing than any ever before. I dont know if it would have the same effect if i read it for the first time as an adult, but the concept of the purity of the idea used by the main character was as revolutionary to me at 14 as the metaphor of the fog in one flew over the cuckoos nest. A prosaic and philosophical novel from ...more
Robert Hays
Jun 22, 2013 Robert Hays rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book many years ago, and just went back to it for a second look recently. It is classic Robert Penn Warren and anyone who likes historical fiction will find it hard to put down. When I read it the first time it brought vivid memories of Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky, which I had unintentionally wound up in as a hitchhiker when I was in the Army. I've been there a few times since, and every time I visit I think again of Warren's great story.
This story is intriguing and stretches the mind which is admirable. However, I felt this needed to be edited better (as far as shortening the length of this novel) as I was beginning to feel tortured like Jeremiah. This book wore me down as it seemed to march on past the core of the story.
Richard Epstein
Jan 08, 2014 Richard Epstein rated it really liked it
"Name another novel by Robert Penn Warren." "Uh...." That would be the most common response, I think. This one will do. It's a good book, thoroughly Penn Warren-ish, and, after all, the end of man is knowledge. It's not All the King's Men, but what is?
Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)
8 years afterwards I only vaguely recall what this book was about, but it was entertaining enough while I was reading it.
Jan 28, 2013 Merilee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not enjoy this nearly as well as I did All the King's Men, but I do acknowledge that it is very well-written and Penn Warren's background as a poet it obvious.
Craig Sargent
Craig Sargent rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2015
Zachary Krug
Zachary Krug rated it it was ok
Jan 13, 2011
Josh rated it it was amazing
Nov 20, 2008
Tex Boise
Tex Boise rated it it was amazing
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Robert Penn Warren was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic, and was one of the founders of New Criticism. He was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He is the only person to have won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry. He won the Pulitzer in 1947 for his novel All the King's Men (1946) and won his subsequent Pulitzer Prizes for poetry in 1957 and then ...more
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