The Letters of Robert Frost, Volume 2: 1920–1928 is the second installment of Harvard’s five-volume edition of the poet’s correspondence. Nearly three hundred letters in the critically-acclaimed first volume had never before been collected; here, close to four hundred are gathered for the first time. Volume 2 includes letters to some 160 correspondents: family and friends; colleagues, fellow writers, visual artists, editors, and publishers; educators of all kinds; farmers, librarians, and admirers.
In the years covered here, publication of Selected Poems, New Hampshire, and West-Running Brook enhanced Frost’s stature in America and abroad, and the demands of managing his career—as public speaker, poet, and teacher—intensified. A good portion of the correspondence is devoted to Frost’s appointments at the University of Michigan and Amherst College, through which he played a major part in staking out the positions poets would later hold in American universities. Other letters show Frost helping to shape the Bread Loaf School of English and its affiliated Writers’ Conference. We encounter him discussing his craft with students and fostering the careers of younger poets. His observations (and reservations) about educators are illuminating and remain pertinent. And family life—with all its joys and sorrows, hardships and satisfactions—is never less than central to Frost’s concerns.
Robert Frost was a masterful prose stylist, often brilliant and always engaging. Thoroughly annotated and accompanied by a biographical glossary, chronology, and detailed index, these letters are both the record of a remarkable literary life and a unique contribution to American literature.
Praise for the previous volume:
“In almost every way, this new edition is a triumph of scholarly care… For all his private flaws, his tragedies large and small, American literature—and the language itself—owes a profound debt to that dark, demonic, beguiling figure, Robert Frost.”
—William Logan, New York Times Book Review
“Long overdue, The Letters of Robert Frost, Volume 1: 1886–1920 is deservedly getting a lot of attention. Frost is not simply a lively correspondent, he is an artist of the epistolary form, defining himself and his poetic era in these pages… The truly original, splenetic, aphoristic, and revisionary mind of a major poet comes into view.”
—Jay Parini, Chronicle of Higher Education
“Thanks to Harvard’s undertaking, Frost’s more complete, chronological letters help correct the poet’s legacy by allowing it weight and breadth.”
—Valerie Duff, Boston Globe
“Not the rustic sage, but the savvy, ambitious, cosmopolitan poet emerges from this first volume of Frost’s lively, shrewd letters… [T]he collection [is] a must for scholars; but Frost’s witty, urbane style make the letters an engaging browse for ordinary readers, too.”
“It must be said that these early letters carry the burden of [Frost’s] poetry so finely as to be no embarrassment to the poetry. The book has been edited…with continuous tact and sensitivity to the likely demands of a literate reader.”
—David Bromwich, Times Literary Supplement
“Such a joy to read… This is the first time a complete version of [Frost’s letters]—running in chronological order—has been made available… Anyone interested in the laborious process an artist must undertake to perfect his craft will read this book with awe and fascination, and as a constant source of inspiration.”
—J. P. O’Malley, NPR online
“[T]his volume may well inspire a Frost renaissance.”
A temperamental streak beneath the cultivated persona of the humble, mild-mannered raconteur keeps things lively for the reader. This second installment in an impressive project tracks the transformation of the hardworking craftsman into a monument of American letters.
Meticulously annotated…and provides fascinating insights into his philosophy, politics, and personality.
This second of a proposed four-volume enterprise comprises 569 letters, two-thirds of which are published here for the first time. This book, like its predecessor—which covers 1886–1920—is a masterpiece of scholarly attention and an important adjunct to the poetry of an American master. Readers hear the poet’s voice in his letters as clearly as in his lyrical, plain-spoken poetry. Frost’s affections, his occupations and preoccupations, his political tendencies, and his aesthetic and moral sensibility are apparent in these letters to family, friends, and fellow poets…These years were also a rich period in Frost’s life: he published four new collections and in 1924 received the first of his four Pulitzers. However, coinciding with success and national recognition were ongoing family health issues and personal tragedy.
Exemplary is a wholly inadequate word to characterize [this] joint editorial enterprise.
As one reads The Letters of Robert Frost: Volume Two—never tedious for all the chat and twice as entertaining for the clarity of the notes—poems are still finding him, and he is having some fun.
- 848 pages
- 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
From this author
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