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The Letters of Robert Frost, Volume 1: 1886 - 1920by Donald Sheehy
Synopses & Reviews
One of the acknowledged giants of twentieth-century American literature, Robert Frost was a public figure much celebrated in his day. Although his poetry reached a wide audience, the private Frost--pensive, mercurial, and often very funny--remains less appreciated. Following upon the publication of Frost's notebooks and collected prose, The Letters of Robert Frost is the first major edition of the poet's written correspondence. The hundreds of previously unpublished letters in these annotated volumes deepen our understanding and appreciation of this most complex and subtle of verbal artists.
Volume One traverses the years of Frost's earliest poems to the acclaimed collections North of Boston and Mountain Interval that cemented his reputation as one of the leading lights of his era. The drama of his personal life--as well as the growth of the audacious mind that produced his poetry--unfolds before us in Frost's day-to-day missives. These rhetorical performances are at once revealing and tantalizingly evasive about relationships with family and close friends, including the poet Edward Thomas. We listen in as Frost defines himself against contemporaries Ezra Pound and William Butler Yeats, and we witness the evolution of his thoughts about prosody, sound, style, and other aspects of poetic craft.
In its literary interest and sheer display of personality, Frost's correspondence is on a par with the letters of Emily Dickinson, Robert Lowell, and Samuel Beckett. The Letters of Robert Frost holds hours of pleasurable reading for lovers of Frost and modern American poetry.
"Not the rustic sage, but the savvy, ambitious, cosmopolitan poet emerges from this first volume of Frost's lively, shrewd letters. The editors include every missive chronologically, most from 1912 onward, when Frost, pushing 40 and sojourning in England, won acclaim with his long-incubated first poetry books after a feckless career farming and teaching. These letters show him seizing fame by the lapels: invading London literary circles; cultivating editors, publishers, and other poets, including a testy Ezra Pound; helpfully coaching critics on how they should review him; drumming up lucrative public readings and lectures. Settled back on a New Hampshire farm, he both nurtures and protests his image as the bard of plain-spoken New England, while influencing the poetry scene and promoting his own protÃ©gÃ©s. But beyond his devotion to careerism and literary politics, Frost produces trenchant criticism and elaborates his poetics of 'sentence tones' — his incorporation of the musicality of ordinary speech into an expressive vernacular that made him the most accessible of modernists. The editors' exhaustive, well-organized notes and appendices, explicating every obscure figure and stray allusion, make the collection a must for scholars; but Frost's witty, urbane style make the letters an engaging browse for ordinary readers, too. 9 halftones." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Pensive, mercurial, and often funny, the private Robert Frost remains less appreciated than the public poet. The Letters of Robert Frost, the first major edition of the correspondence of this complex and subtle verbal artist, includes hundreds of unpublished letters whose literary interest is on a par with Dickinson, Lowell, and Beckett.
About the Author
Donald Sheehy is Professor of English at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.Mark Richardson is Professor of English at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan.Robert Faggen is Barton Evans and H. Andrea Neves Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College.
Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan
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