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The Letters of Robert Frost, Volume 3: 1929–1936

The Letters of Robert Frost, Volume 3: 1929–1936

Robert Frost

Edited by Mark Richardson, Donald Sheehy, Robert Bernard Hass, and Henry Atmore

ISBN 9780674726659

Publication date: 04/30/2021

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The third installment of Harvard’s five-volume edition of Robert Frost’s correspondence.

The Letters of Robert Frost, Volume 3: 1929–1936 is the latest installment in Harvard’s five-volume edition of the poet’s correspondence. It presents 601 letters, of which 425 are previously uncollected. The critically acclaimed first volume, a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, included nearly 300 previously uncollected letters, and the second volume 350 more.

During the period covered here, Robert Frost was close to the height of his powers. If Volume 2 covered the making of Frost as America’s poet, in Volume 3 he is definitively made. These were also, however, years of personal tribulation. The once-tight Frost family broke up as marriage, illness, and work scattered the children across the country. In the case of Frost’s son Carol, both distance and proximity put strains on an already fractious relationship. But the tragedy and emotional crux of this volume is the death of Frost’s youngest daughter, Marjorie. Frost’s correspondence from those dark days is a powerful testament to the difficulty of honoring the responsibilities of a poet’s eminence while coping with the intensity of a parent’s grief.

Volume 3 also sees Frost responding to the crisis of the Great Depression, the onset of the New Deal, and the emergence of totalitarian regimes in Europe, with wit, canny political intelligence, and no little acerbity. All the while, his star continues to rise: he wins a Pulitzer for Collected Poems in 1931 and will win a second for A Further Range, published in 1936, and he is in constant demand as a public speaker at colleges, writers’ workshops, symposia, and dinners. Frost was not just a poet but a poet-teacher; as such, he was instrumental in defining the public functions of poetry in the twentieth century. In the 1930s, Frost lived a life of paradox, as personal tragedy and the tumults of politics interwove with his unprecedented achievements.

Thoroughly annotated and accompanied by a biographical glossary and detailed chronology, these letters illuminate a triumphant and difficult period in the life of a towering literary figure.

Praise

  • Reading The Letters of Robert Frost is as indispensable as reading the poems, for revealed in these pages are the layers of thinking that buttressed the great poet’s talent. What emerges into view is a fuller individual—at times humane, empathetic, avuncular—whose complexity and art were utterly responsive to the political and aesthetic ferment of his times.

    —Major Jackson, author of The Absurd Man and guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2019

Authors

  • Mark Richardson is Professor of English at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan.
  • Donald Sheehy is Professor Emeritus of English and Philosophy at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
  • Robert Bernard Hass is Professor of English and Philosophy at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
  • Henry Atmore is Professor of Anglo-American Studies at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies.

Book Details

  • 848 pages
  • 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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