Cover: The Collected Prose of Robert Frost, from Harvard University PressCover: The Collected Prose of Robert Frost in PAPERBACK

The Collected Prose of Robert Frost

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$30.00 • £24.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674034679

Publication Date: 03/30/2010


416 pages

6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Belknap Press


This book contains a lot of interesting and important insights into poetry, into the processes of poetic composition and poetic form, poetic influence and structure and meaning… This is the first collection of Frost’s prose—the stories, the lectures, the prefaces, the essays—and is a significant addition to the long and growing shelf of Frost scholarly editions and criticisms… There is page after page in the Collected Prose of this slightly grand and teasing and ironic sort of talk… Reading the prose, finding him saying one thing in terms of another, the pleasure of ulteriority is ours also. In the Collected Prose we find, to borrow a phrase from his poem ‘Two Tramps in Mud Time,’ ‘The lurking frost in the earth beneath.’—Ian Sansom, The Guardian

Mark Richardson has brought together, in one meticulously edited volume, all the articles, introductions, press releases, and lectures, along with some especially significant letters, which Frost himself readied for print but never saw fit to publish… Frost’s startling insights into the poetic process, as well as his frequent jokes, are all the more effective for being bluntly delivered… [Richardson’s] extensive notes offer a wealth of information, often drawn from unpublished sources, which wonderfully illuminate Frost’s intentions.—Eric Ormsby, The New York Sun

Mark Richardson has given us the fullest critical edition of Frost’s prose ever published, including everything ‘Frost is known to have prepared for print, major and minor items alike.’ Beginning with pieces he wrote while in high school, The Collected Prose of Robert Frost presents his stories, speeches, talks and essays. Examples of his wit and insight abound.—Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World

Taken as a whole, this prose collection is a delightful miscellany… And how wonderful to have this—short fiction by a young Robert Frost! In these stories, the personality of Frost’s New Englander begins to appear, the philosophical, laconic, chthonic fellow we see in the later-published narrative poetry like ‘Home Burial’ and ‘Death of the Hired Man’ and ‘Two Tramps in Mud Time.’—Louis B. Jones, Threepenny Review

This [is a] welcome edition of Frost’s prose, 76 items ranging from a paragraph to a few pages, edited by Mark Richardson in exemplary fashion… One hundred years later we have not taken the measure of many of the radical thoughts that fill these meditative monologues.—William H. Pritchard, The Boston Globe

An untidy but wonderful heap of introductions, dedications, lists, autobiographical sketches and aphorisms. There are stories for children and pieces for presidential inaugurations.—Niall Griffiths, The Daily Telegraph

By turns gnomic and practical, his thoughts on the writing process, the importance to poetry of sound—‘The surest way to reach the heart is through the ear’—and his distinction of metre and rhythm might not amount to a primer, but are essential for anyone interested in the art.—Stephen Knight, The Independent

A meticulously edited collection of Frost’s prose.—Christopher Benfey, The New York Review of Books

The book follows Frost from high school to the grave and includes not only important statements on his art but a great many minor curiosities that show the kind of prose chores the contemporary poet must undertake.—George Fetherling, Seven Oaks

Mark Richardson…has an alert and discriminating mind. In the course of his 130 pages of explanatory notes, Mr. Richardson had the wit to include selections from conversations with Frost that Frost’s biographer, Lawrance Thompson, wrote down but unaccountably didn’t include or take into consideration for the biography… Even though Frost is the least obviously obscure and difficult of the major 20th-century American poets, he is also the least clearly understood of them, perhaps because of the enduring darkness and confusion that he asks us to accept…and accept with grace. It should also be said of these writings that Frost is a very natural and elegant prose stylist in many forms, not least in the charming and light-fingered, sleight-of-hand stories, included here, that he wrote for his own children. In or out of prose, he honors our lonely freedom enough to leave many sayings for his reader to finish for himself.—Robert Ganz, The Washington Times

One’s overwhelming impression, on finishing the book, is of respectful love: Richardson’s for Frost, and Frost’s for the English language. If this love comes joined to an ironic wit in both cases, that is all to the good. The portrait of Frost that Richardson conveys in his introduction is alone worth the price of the book, for it seizes on precisely those moments when the poet revealed both his sense of vocation and his sense of comedy. No doubt he could not have had one without the other; and this volume, despite its chicken-farming stories (one of which is actually quite good), should go some way toward dispelling the image of Robert Frost as a platitudinous, straw-chewing naïf.—Wendy Lesser, Bookforum

The book’s chronological order and broad scope provide the reader with a full view of Frost’s prose. Richardson’s real contribution to the field of Frost literature is his enlightening notes section.—Paolina Taglienti, Library Journal

Frost was a highly prolific if disorganized, writer of prose, penning pieces for newspapers, magazines and events that were never collected in book form during his life. Following The Notebooks of Robert Frost, this volume brings together all the prose written for publication by America’s most famous poet… Frost’s earthy voice and rigorous intellect are on full display in this essential book for poetry lovers.Publishers Weekly (starred review)

As a near-comprehensive, definitive, and convenient edition of Frost’s prose, The Collected Prose of Robert Frost is an invaluable tool. Its critical introduction and notes are superb—graceful, perspicacious, focused, discriminating, and deeply informed. This edition offers accurate texts and more of Frost’s prose than has been gathered elsewhere. It will be definitive.—David Cowart, University of South Carolina

A major contribution to the field, The Collected Prose of Robert Frost is a first-rate work of editorial scholarship, that gains from the editor’s comprehensive and intimate familiarity with Frost’s life and work, as well as with the vast secondary literature on both. The textual notes provide the best and in many cases, only available account of the textual history of Frost’s prose. This volume will fill an important need for anyone interested in Frost’s poetry and prose.—Jonathan Levin, author of The Poetics of Transition: Emerson, Pragmatism, and American Literary Modernism

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