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The Cambridge Introduction to Robert Frost
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Book description

Robert Frost is one of the most popular American poets and remains widely read. His work is deceptively simple, but reveals its complexities upon close reading. This Introduction provides a comprehensive but intensive look at his remarkable oeuvre. The poetry is discussed in detail in relation to ancient and modern traditions as well as to Frost's particular interests in language and sound, metaphor, science, religion, and politics. Faggen both looks back to the literary traditions that shape Frost's use of form and language, and forward to examine his influence on poets writing today. The recent controversies in Frost criticism and in particular in Frost biography are brought into sharp focus as they have shaped the poet's legacy and legend. The most accessible overview available, this book will be invaluable to students, readers and admirers of Frost.

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Contents

Guide to further reading
Guide to further reading
Works by Robert Frost
Collected Prose of Robert Frost, ed. Richardson, Mark. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2008. A definitive, annotated edition of all of Frost's prose.
Concordance to the Poetry of Robert Frost, ed. Edward, C. Lathem. New York: Henry Holt, 1971. A useful concordance to Lathem's 1969 edition of the Complete Poems of Robert Frost.
The Family Letters of Robert and Elinor Frost, ed. Grade, Arnold. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1972. An important collection of Frost's letters.
The Letters of Robert Frost to Louis Untermeyer, ed. Untermeyer, Louis. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1963. A valuable collection of Frost's correspondence, though expurgated by Untermeyer and lacking an index.
The Notebooks of Robert Frost, ed. Faggen, Robert. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007. Frost's notebooks provide a rich mine on topics as diverse as poetics, science, religion, politics, and history.
Robert Frost: Collected Poems, Prose, and Plays, ed. Poirier, Richard and Richardson, Mark. New York: Library of America, 1995. An excellent comprehensive edition of Frost's work, including all of the published poems.
Selected Letters of Robert Frost, ed. Thompson, Lawrance. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964. To date, the only available collection of Frost's letters, though hardly definitive.
Interviews with Frost
Cook, Reginald L.Robert Frost: A Living Voice. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1974. A rich account of numerous talks and lectures given by Frost provided by his friend and Middlebury professor.
Francis, Robert. Frost: A Time to Talk: Conversations and Indiscretions. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1971. An interesting perspective on Frost from a friend and fellow poet.
Lathem, Edward Connery, ed. Interviews with Robert Frost. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966. A rich resource of glimpses into Frost's thinking from the beginning of his career as a published writer to shortly before his death.
Mertins, Louis. Robert Frost: Life and Talks-Walking. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965. A younger poet and long-time friend of Frost's recounts their conversations.
Smythe, Daniel. Robert Frost Speaks. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1966.
Biographies and memoirs
Anderson, Margaret Bartlett. Robert Frost and John Bartlett: The Record of a Friendship. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1963. An account of Frost's significant friendship with his former student.
Burnshaw, Stanley. Robert Frost Himself. New York: G. Braziller, 1986. A poet and Frost's editor gives his striking portrait of Frost.
Cox, Sidney. A Swinger of Birches: A Portrait of Robert Frost. Introduction by Robert Frost. New York: New York University Press, 1957. Cox, an English professor, met Frost in 1911, and was an early advocate of his work.
Francis, Lesley Lee. The Frost Family's Adventure in Poetry: Sheer Morning Gladness at the Brim. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1994. Frost's granddaughter provides a fascinating account of her family's education by poetry based on family letters and journals.
Meyers, Jeffrey. Robert Frost: A Biography. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. A hastily researched biography that focuses superficially on the more troubled aspects of Frost's later personal life, presented better in the work of Donald Sheehy.
Helen, Muir. Frost in Florida: A Memoir. Miami: Valiant Press, 1995. An overview of the many winters Frost spent in Florida, by a journalist who knew him.
Newdick, Robert. Newdick's Season of Frost: An Interrupted Biography of Robert Frost, ed. William, A. Sutton. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1976. The first attempt at an official biography of Frost, interrupted by Newdick's death in 1939.
Parini, Jay. Robert Frost: A Biography. New York: Henry Holt, 1999. A thoughtful, balanced biography of the poet as a devoted father and demanding artist which also gives a particularly rich account of his early years.
Pritchard, William H.Robert Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. A biography of Frost, addressing carefully his literary context and the limits of what we can know about the relationship between his life and work.
Reeve, E. D.Robert Frost in Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1964. A fascinating account of Frost's 1962 ambassadorial trip to the Soviet Union and meeting with Russian poets and Kruschev by the translator who accompanied him.
Sergeant, Elizabeth Shepley. Robert Frost: The Trial by Existence. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960. A critical biography of Frost with which Frost cooperated. It includes valuable comments by Frost about his life and work.
Thompson, Lawrance. Robert Frost: The Early Years, 1874–1915. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966. The first of three volumes of the official biography of Robert Frost. The first two were completed by Thompson. Although the biography remains an invaluable resource, Thompson grew single-minded in his hatred of his subject. He tended to regard material favoring his subject with suspicion and welcome uncritically material and accounts contributing to his ever-growing negative view of Frost as a monster, particularly toward his family.
Thompson, LawranceRobert Frost: The Years of Triumph, 1915–1938. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1970. The second and Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of the official biography.
Thompson, Lawrance, and Winnick, R. H.. Robert Frost: The Later Years, 1938–1963. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976. Thompson died before the completion of this volume, which was completed by his assistant.
Walsh, John Evangelist. Into My Own: The English Years of Robert Frost. New York: Grove Press, 1988. An illuminating study of Frost's years in England, where he published his first two books and encountered Pound, Yeats, and Thomas.
Criticism
Bagby, George. Robert Frost and the Book of Nature. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993. An interesting study of Frost's taking nature as edifying text and scripture.
Barron, Jonathan and Wilcox, Earl, eds. Roads Not Taken: Rereading Robert Frost. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2001. A groundbreaking collection of essays on many aspects of Frost's poetry.
Barron, Jonathan and Wilcox, EarlThe Robert Frost Review. Published annually by the Robert Frost Society.
Barry, Elaine, ed. Robert Frost on Writing. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1973. A useful assembly of Frost's letters and essays on the subject of writing and poetics with a provocative introduction by the editor.
Brodsky, Joseph, Heaney, Seamus, and Walcott, Derek. Homage to Robert Frost. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996. A collection famous for revealing the range of Frost's global reach and the often surprising and contradictory reactions his work produces.
Brower, Reuben. The Poetry of Robert Frost: Constellations of Intention. New York: Oxford University Press, 1963. A sturdy, new critical study of Frost's poetry with an emphasis on his Emersonian alignment.
Budd, Louis and Cady, Edwin, eds. On Frost: The Best from American Literature. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1991. Major essays on Frost which have appeared in this journal.
Cook, Reginald L.The Dimensions of Robert Frost. New York: Rinehart, 1958. An insightful general study by the Middlebury professor who knew the poet and his work well.
Cox, James M., ed. Robert Frost: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1961.
Cramer, Jeffrey S.Robert Frost Among His Poems: A Literary Companion to the Poet's Own Biographical Contexts and Associations. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1996. An invaluable guide for tracking the bibliographical history of Frost's poems and books.
Faggen, Robert. Robert Frost and the Challenge of Darwin. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997. Places Frost's poetry in the context of the tensions between science and faith that emerged from the nineteenth and continued into the twentieth century. Regards Frost as much more congenial to science than some critics had thought.
Faggen, Robert, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Robert Frost. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. A collection of essays on key topics in Frost studies including biography, pastoral, prosody, politics, economics, and gender.
Gerber, Philip L., ed. Critical Essays on Robert Frost. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982.
Jarrell, Randall. No Other Book: Selected Essays, ed. Leithauser, Brad. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999. Paperback edn., HarperCollins, 1999. Jarrell's essays contain his illuminating studies of Frost's poetry, including his extensive meditation on “Home Burial.”
Hass, Robert Bernard. Going by Contraries: Robert Frost's Conflict with Science. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2002. An insightful study of Frost's handling of twentieth-century biology and physics.
Hoffman, Tyler. Robert Frost and the Politics of Poetry. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2001. A study that places Frost's theory of “the sound of sense” within the contexts of literary and cultural politics.
Jost, Walter. Rhetorical Investigations: Studies in Ordinary Language Criticism. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2004. A complex study of ordinary language criticism and rhetoric in “Home Burial,” “Snow,” “Death of the Hired Man,” and “The Code.”
Kearns, Katherine. Robert Frost and a Poetics of Appetite. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. An engaging study of the erotic in Frost's poetry, particularly the tension between attitudes of masculinity and femininity, order and chaos.
Kemp, John C.Robert Frost and New England: The Poet as Regionalist. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979. Explores deeply the symbolism of location and New England in Frost's poetry.
Kilcup, Karen L.Robert Frost and Feminine Literary Tradition. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998. Focuses on the women writers who inspired Frost, including Sarah Orne Jewett, Lydia Sigourney, and Mary Wilkins Freeman.
Lentricchia, Frank. Robert Frost: Modern Poetics and the Landscapes of Self. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1975. An important study of Frost's relationship to pragmatism and other philosophical traditions.
Lynen, John F.The Pastoral Art of Robert Frost. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1964. An important early study of Frost's working in the pastoral mode.
Mauro, Jason. “Frost and James: The Gaps I Mean.” South Carolina Review, (2)28 (1996), 112–120. A subtle essay that reveals the skeptical depths of Frost's thinking about pragmatism.
Monteiro, George. Robert Frost and the New England Renaissance. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1988. A lively and insightful study of Frost's dialogue with Emerson, Thoreau, and others.
Oster, Judith. Toward Robert Frost: The Reader and the Poet. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991. A reader-response approach to the poetry, providing provocative readings of the poems.
Poirier, Richard. Robert Frost: The Work of Knowing. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. A landmark study that emphasized the great degree of literary intelligence and criticism within Frost's poetry.
Richardson, Mark, ed. The Ordeal of Robert Frost. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997. This study reveals Frost's struggle to maintain his artistic integrity while also remaining accessible to a reading public.
Rotella, Guy. Reading and Writing Nature. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1991. Places Frost in the context of several modern poets – Stevens, Bishop, and Moore, and the idea of nature.
Sabin, Margery. “The Fate of the Frost Speaker,” Raritan, 2 (Fall 1982), 128–139. A significant statement about the importance of sound and voice in Frost's poetry.
Sheehy, Donald G.The Poet as Neurotic: The Official Biography of Robert Frost.” American Literature, October 1986, 393–409. One of the most important critical essays written on Frost and the Thompson biography.
Sheehy, Donald G.(Re) Figuring Love: Robert Frost in Crisis, 1938–1942.” New England Quarterly, June 1990, 179–231. A fascinating essay on the relationship between Frost and Kathleen Morrison.
Tharpe, Jac, ed. Frost: Centennial Essays, vols. I–III. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1976–78. Three volumes of essays on a wide range of topics.
Timmerman, John H.Robert Frost and the Ethics of Ambiguity. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2002. An interesting study of Frost's debt to Santayana, going against the usual thinking that sees Frost as entirely antagonistic to the philosopher.
Lewis, Tuten and Zubizarreta, John, ed. The Robert Frost Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood. 2001.
Wagner, Linda W., ed. Robert Frost: The Critical Reception. New York: Burt Franklin and Company, 1977. A useful collection of the major reviews of Frost's books.
Wilcox, Earl, ed. His “Incalculable” Influence on Others: Essays on Robert Frost in Our Time. English Literary Studies Monograph no. 63. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria Department of English, 1994.

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