Robert Penn Warren's 'The Last Of The Mohicans'

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WHEN Robert Penn Warren, the poet, novelist and critic, arrived at Yale in 1927 to pursue his doctoral studies, he lasted in New Haven for just a few months. In 1928, having moved on to Oxford, he wrote to a friend, ''What I really wanted was to get in an environment where men were actually doing creative writing, but Yale is not the place for that, I learned too late.'' The evidence, however, suggests otherwise. Over the last 300 years, many of America's greatest writers have been Yale alumni. Sinclair Lewis, Philip Barry and Thornton Wilder all went to Yale. James Fenimore Cooper, author of ''The Last of the Mohicans,'' would have graduated with the class of 1806, if he hadn't been expelled for threatening a fellow student with a homemade…show more content…
Kirchwey said. ''It wasn't at that point because Yale had a creative writing program. It wasn't because there were huge numbers of courses in creative writing. It had to do with a sense that creative writing, that poetry in my case, was arising out of this superb intellectual climate where art was taken seriously. That Yale treats artistic endeavors as seriously as, say, medicine, as Mr. Kirchwey suggested, is corroborated by Dr. Sherwin Nuland. Currently clinical professor of surgery at the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Nuland graduated from the medical school in 1955. He is the author of several books, including ''How We Die,'' which earned him the National Book Award in 1994. Though he did not begin writing for a general audience until the 1980's, Dr. Nuland traces the origin of his success as a writer back to his years as a Yale student. What surprised him about the medical school was that the instructors were fascinated with subjects outside the world of medicine. ''There aren't too many places where the professors are as interested in the background, application and history of a procedure as they are in its technical aspects,'' he said. Dr. Nuland first discovered the delight of learning from others, particularly others in a different field, as a student at

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