ROBERT FROST

A BIOGRAPHY

After deferential personal reminiscences and a hostile authorized biography, Frost is finally portrayed here as equally complex in both his poetry and his personality. Although Lawrance Thompson's detail-drenched three-volume authorized biography stripped Frost of his folksy public persona, it not only nakedly displayed, in Meyers's words, ``a pathological hatred'' toward its subject, but also concealed Thompson's affair with Kay Morrison, Frost's secretary, literary executor, and lover. Biographies by Sidney Cox and Elizabeth Sergeant have been more benevolent, and Frost's editor Stanley Burnshaw has attacked Thompson's objectivity. Drawing on all of this work, prolific biographer Meyers (Edmund Wilson, 1995, etc.) depicts Frost as an incompetent farmer and a wayward student, but an innovative teacher and a canny and erudite poet, as adept in versification as in literary rivalry. The most amusing sections deal with Frost's serio-comic relations with other poets, such as Ezra Pound, with whom Frost quarrelled in England before his (Frost's) first success, then helped to bail out of the insane asylum; Carl Sandburg, who was Frost's rival for all-American poetic simplicity; and T.S. Eliot, who started as a Modernist competitor but ended as a fellow grand old man of letters. Frost's personal life receives close but compassionate scrutiny, for if Meyers paints Frost as a demanding husband and domineering paterfamilias, he allows him grief for the series of family tragedies that darkened his famous later years. Frost ends as a model of his hero, Thomas Hardy, revered and still productive, but Meyers underscores the aged Frost's pessimism and desperate need for recognition. That need led him from ``barding about'' on the lecture circuit to the Kennedy inauguration and good-will visits abroad. Notwithstanding a certain critical padding and occasional harshness, Meyers's biography gives a readable, sympathetic portrait of Frost without sacrificing either the dark poet or the affable public New Englander. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: May 8, 1996

ISBN: 0-395-72809-6

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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