Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
Robert Frost became a legend in his own long lifetime and participated in the shaping of the legend of his life's story. In addition to the dozens of interviews conducted from his return to the United States in 1915, we have Robert Newdick's incomplete Season of Frost (1939; published in 1976) and Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant's A Swinger of Birches (1960), which was intended mostly as a critical study though Frost cooperated and provided a variety of information. Lawrance Thompson's official biography, begun in the 1940s and completed posthumously in the early 1970s, remains an invaluable source of information, if a troubling and self-consciously troubled interpretation of its subject and especially of the poetry. Thompson left more than 15,000 pages of notes for yet another book on the writing of a biography, which provide useful material for anyone wishing to delve deeply into the nuances of Frost's life. In more recent years, William Pritchard's Robert Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered and Stanley Burnshaw's Robert Frost Himself have presented counters to some of the legends created by the Thompson biography. Pritchard's biography, in particular, has focused more on Frost's literary contexts. John Evangelist Walsh's Into My Own: The English Years of Robert Frost focused on that period in Frost's life, while Jay Parini's Robert Frost has also provided a balanced, comprehensive, one-volume study vision of the poet's working life.