Robert B. Heilman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Robert B. Heilman (1906–2004) was an American educator and writer.

Life in Academics[edit]

Heilman attended Lafayette College and later received his Ph.D. in English from Harvard University in 1935. Soon after, he began teaching at Louisiana State University (LSU). His entry into LSU occurred shortly after the rise of the fugitive poets. Also while he was at LSU, many of his colleagues were influenced by the school of New Criticism.

"The Southern Temper"[edit]

One example of Heilman's writing is his essay, "The Southern Temper." In this piece, Heilman argues that there are five components to Southern writing. Heilman contests that Southern writing should be valued for its ability to mix theses components into a balanced canon.

  1. sense of the elemental: complement to the ornamental, emphasizes the action as unembellished, Ex. violence seen in the works of Faulkner as examples of the elemental.
  2. sense of the ornamental: “…the awareness of style as integral in all kinds of communication…” ex. writings of Robert Warren
  3. sense of the concrete: writings “…incline not to linger in the realm of theory as such but to hurry on to the exemplary case”
  4. sense of the representative: one obligation to the present is to refer to the past
  5. sense of totality: “…we do not live alone in time, thrust into eminence, and into finality, by what went before, servile and unentangling” again, importance of the past

External links[edit]


  • In Southern Renascence: The Literature of the Modern South