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Table of Contents
- Descriptive Summary
- Biographical or Historical Note
- Administrative Information
- Related Materials
- Other Finding Aids
- General note
- Collection Inventory
Kenneth Burke papers (Burke 2), 1918-1993, bulk 1957-1988
|Kenneth Burke papers (Burke 2)|
|Kenneth Burke Literary Trust|
|Kenneth Burke (1897-1993) was a poet, novelist, translator, music reviewer, and short-story writer, but he is most widely known as a philosopher of language. In addition to containing the original letters of Burke’s many correspondents, Burke-2 includes interfiled copies of Burke’s own letters, as well as verse, typescripts, photographs, articles, and newspaper clippings.|
|25 Linear Feet|
|Special Collections Library. Pennsylvania State University.|
Biographical or Historical Note
Kenneth Duva Burke was born 5 May 1897, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, son of Lillyan May Duva and James Leslie Burke. He attended Ohio State University in 1916 and Columbia University in 1917. In 1918 Burke left Columbia to begin a program of self-study and writing among the avant-garde in Greenwich Village. In the 1920s Burke wrote, edited, translated, and served as a music critic for the well-known Dial Magazine. After publishing a novel and major texts in the 1930s, Burke accepted academic assignments at the New School for Social Research (1937) and the University of Chicago (1938, 1949–1950). In 1943 Burke began his long association with Bennington College, Vermont, where he taught literary theory and criticism. After retiring in 1961, Burke accepted shorter teaching and lecturing engagements at universities across the United States, traveling on “the academic circuit” even into the 1980s. During this time, Burke’s writings came into wider recognition, and he received many honorary doctorates and other awards, among them the Gold Medal for Belles Lettres, Criticism, Essays, from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1975); and the National Medal for Literature at the American Book Awards (1981). Kenneth Burke lived most of his life, from 1922 until his death in 1993, at his home in Andover, New Jersey. Kenneth Burke wrote a novel, poetry, short stories, translations, social commentary, and literary and music reviews. However, he is most widely known as a philosopher of language whose theories of language have influenced contemporary thought, particularly in areas of rhetoric, literary theory, communication, and cultural studies. Burke’s major works include Counter-Statement (1931; 2nd ed., 1953, 1968); Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose (1935; 3rd rev. ed. 1984); Attitudes toward History (2 volumes, 1937; 3rd. rev. ed. 1984); The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies in Symbolic Action (1941; 3rd. ed. 1973), A Grammar of Motives (1945; 2nd ed. 1955, 1969); A Rhetoric of Motives (1950; 2nd ed. 1955, 1969); The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology (1961, 1970); Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method (1966); and Dramatism and Development (1972). Many of Burke's other writings have been published in various collections. These include: Book of Moments : Poems 1915-1954 (1955); On Human Nature : A Gathering While Everything Flows, 1967-1984 (2003; William H. Rueckert and Angelo Bonadonna, eds.); Here & Elsewhere : The Collected Fiction of Kenneth Burke (2005); Late Poems, 1968-1993 : Attitudinizings Verse-wise, While Fending for One's Selph, and in a Style Somewhat Artificially Colloquial (2005; Julie Whitaker and David Blakesley, eds); Essays toward a Symbolic of Motives, 1950-1955 (2007; William H. Rueckert, ed.); Kenneth Burke on Shakespeare (2007; Scott L. Newstok, ed.); and Equipment for Living : The Literary Reviews of Kenneth Burke (2007; Nathaniel A. Rivers and Ryan P. Weber, eds.).
Following original order, the collection is arranged chronologically, alphabetically by correspondents’ last names, and chronologically therein. The guide to this collection contains three series: Correspondence, Works, and Photographs. Correspondence consists of two subseries: Correspondence. General; and Correspondence. Family.
Copyright, where it persists, is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
[Item Title], Kenneth Burke papers (Burke 2), RBM 6368. Special Collections Library, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University.
Purchased from the Kenneth Burke Literary Estate in 2005.
Processed by J. M. Sabre
Complementing Burke-2, the earlier portion of Kenneth Burke’s correspondence collection is found in the Kenneth Burke papers, Burke-1 (RBM 2619). Several small collections contain Kenneth Burke’s original letters to Burke-2 correspondents. These collections include the Kenneth Burke letter to Mr. Arrowsmith, 1964 October 1; the Kenneth Burke letters to Charles L. Elkins, and manuscripts (RBM 9168); the Kenneth Burke letters to David Mandel, and manuscript (RBM 9424); the Kenneth Burke postcard to Charles Mann, 1979 June 20 (RBM 9369); the Kenneth Burke letters to William H. Rueckert (RBM 5464); the Kenneth Burke letters to Carol Price Sams, and manuscript (RBM 8648); the Kenneth Burke letters to Henry W. Sams, and manuscripts (RBM 8629); the Kenneth Burke correspondence with Myron Simon; the Kenneth Burke letters to Stanley Weintraub; and the Kenneth Burke correspondence with Robert Wess (RBM 7708). Additional materials documenting Kenneth Burke’s career include the Kenneth Burke Letters to Lily Batterham Burke (RBM 6347), and the largely manuscript collection, the Kenneth Burke papers, Burke-3 (RBM 6369). Burke-3 is also available through interlibrary loan in microfilm.
Other Finding Aids
Item-level inventories are available in PDF, accessible from the Kenneth Burke papers website, Special Collections Library.
Burke-2 contains the correspondence collection of language theorist Kenneth Duva Burke, largely from the mid- to late twentieth century. The collection includes the original letters of many well-known correspondents, among them, Malcolm Cowley, Denis Donoghue, Ralph Ellison, Marianne Moore, Howard Nemerov, Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, and James Sibley Watson, Jr. Burke’s interfiled responses complete exchanges and narrate, as well, engaging accounts of Burke’s own life and thought during his late productive period. Some typescripts, photographs, verse, articles, and clippings are also interfiled. As a whole, the collection uniquely documents significant historical and cultural conversations of its time.
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