Kenneth Roberts in the Blogosphere

Google is a great tool.  You can search an untold number of websites to find what you’re looking for (most of the time).  One thing I want to see accomplished with this site is a “coming together” of Kenneth Roberts fans.  To accomplish this, I will highlight blog posts dealing with Kenneth Roberts in some form or fashion.  Google, then, helps to accomplish this!

Today I stumbled across a post written by someone anonymous (at the blog titled Fairhope Farms) about Kenneth Roberts’ Rabble in Arms– my favorite novel of all times.  In it she discusses the vividness of Roberts’ language and his attention to detail (in its various forms).  I also admire her for admitting she appreciates Benedict Arnold and Roberts’ portrayal of Arnold (I will hopefully deal with this in a latter post).  Anyway, see this post by clicking here.

***Update 5:22 P.M.*** I’ve added an RSS feed that will include recent posts that deal with Kenneth Roberts in some form or fashion.

“The Kenneth Roberts Reader”

1945 ed. of The Reader

1945 ed. of The Reader

 I’ve recently picked up The Kenneth Roberts Reader for some light reading.  Though I have many of the books included in this reader, there are others included that I do not have.  If you are a little familiar with KR or just recently found out who he was, try finding this book in a used book store; this book is a great way to introduce you to KR’s style and his various works.  The best way, however, to become familiar with KR is just to buy his books and dive in.

Here’s a question I want to look into as a result of reading this book: Why was Ben Ames Williams chosen to write the introduction to this book?  What was his relation to KR?  Hope to find an answer soon and let you know!  In the meantime, find the book and start reading!

Kenneth Roberts – According to Ben Ames Williams

For Ken, who expects from the historian a remote impartiality, himself always has a thesis to demonstrate.  His thesis is the unrecognized truth; and he will with the most laborious research write a book to prove that on a given subject everyone who believes what everyone else believes is wrong!  It was characteristic of him that he began his career as a novelist by making the best possible case for Benedict Arnold.

Ben Ames Williams, “Introduction” in The Kenneth Roberts Reader (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc, 1945), ix.

Kenneth Roberts’ House For Sale

Picture courtesy of Pack Maynard & Assoc. Realty

Picture courtesy of Pack Maynard & Assoc. Real Estate

I came across an interesting find during my search for info on Kenneth Roberts – the house he built is now up for sale in Kennebunkport, ME for around only $7.95 million (I say this facetiously because I do not have this kind of money).   It’s a beautiful home and you can view a slide show of the home by clicking here.  I found the realty posting on Pack Maynard & Associates Realty’s website.  It’s a beautiful home set in beautiful country; you really get a sense of Roberts’ appreciation for Maine country. 

You can also get the sense that he wanted privacy.  In the introduction to The Kenneth Roberts Reader, the editor states in a footnote (n. 2, viii) that Kenneth Roberts had a 1/2 mile long drive way.  As one traveled this driveway, he was encountered with one sign that stated “DEAD END ROAD, NARROW AND DANGEROUS: PLEASE DON’T TRESPASS” (Doubleday in The Kenneth Roberts Reader, n. 2, viii) and another that stated “NOT A PUBLIC ROAD” (ibid, viii).

I hope to one day visit Maine and have the chance to see this home.

How Do I Find Out More About Kenneth Roberts?

Before beginning this site, I performed just basic searches on Google for any information on Kenneth Roberts.  Sadly, all I got were short bios that all sounded alike, and this probably because they all referenced the same sources (primarily Jack Bales’ two books on Roberts.  You can reference a short bio on Jack Bales  from a link on the right).

As an instructor, I rarely refer my students to Wikipedia.com because of how fluid information seems to be on this site (at least in regards to how easily one can adjust information on there).  However, in the case of info on Kenneth Roberts, Wikipedia is one of a few sites that carries extensive (compared to what’s out there) info on Roberts.  So, if you would like to have a brief lesson into Kenneth Roberts in general, refer to the Wikipedia article here.  If you want to catch a glimpse into Kenneth Roberts the person, see Bales’ article located on Dartmouth’s Library Bulletin site here.

If you know of other sites that provide better or more info, let me know!

Welcome to the Kenneth L. Roberts Unofficial Site

Kenneth Roberts, probably known more for his works such as: Arundel, Rabble in Arms, Oliver Wiswell, Northwest Passage, and Lively Lady, was a prolific writer, having written numerous articles on various topics and books on tourism, antiques, cooking, and water dousing.  While probably not as well-known today as in the early- to mid-nineteenth century, Mr. Roberts is still worthy to read.  Unfortunately, as I have surfed the web (which is chock-full of fan sites for anyone and anything), I have not found any one site devoted solely to Kenneth Lewis Roberts and his works.  I hope to change this (as much as I can on limited resources and time)  with this site.

I first became acquainted with Kenneth Roberts when I was in my junior year of highschool, roughtly 1992/1993.  I had a book report to do on any book of my choice, and I happened to come across Rabble in Arms in my school library.  I had never heard of the novel, nor had I heard of Kenneth Roberts; instead, I grabbed the book because it was set in the Revolutionary War era.  Little did I know then that I would begin a fascination with the works of Kenneth Roberts and a desire to collect anything I can of his writings (with a small budget, of course).

While many students decry American History (and history in general) as dull, useless and a near-death experience, Roberts writes about history in such a way as to make it come alive (which, I believe, is his intention as mentioned in his book I Wanted to Write).  Further, Roberts writes about aspects of American history ignored, misunderstood, or neglected by the general public.  For instance, the primary subject of Rabble in Armsis Benedict Arnold.  Many know Arnold as the most infamous traitor in American history; yet, many probably know very little of the great good he did for our country before his defection.  I, for one, was not aware of this; all I remember is his traitorous act as taught in middle school and high school history classes.  Roberts attention to historical detail, colorful and vivid language, and his ability to string together seemingly isolated, rather dry historical facts into an invigorating storyline helped me to see that there was more to Arnold, so much so that it makes his traitorous act even more devastating.  Roberts applies this technique (for lack of a better term at the moment of writing this post) in all of his historical fiction novels, exposing the reader to little-known historical events and/or people along with an interpretation of the events that more than likely bucks the trend of contemporary understanding.

I intend this site to eventually become a sort of depository for anything Kenneth Roberts.  As alluded to above, I have little to no resources to do any extensive research, nor do I have the ability to access many of his original documents or correspondences; rather, others have already done that (see this short bio on Jack Bales, who has written two books on Kenneth Roberts.  These are definitely on my want list now!).  Instead, I hope to serve as a Grand Central Station of information, links, etc. for those who are fans of Kenneth Roberts or for those who are just stopping by for curiosity’s sake.

So, with this said, I hope this develops into a useful site!  If you have any resources or ideas, please let me know. 

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