SELECTED LETTERS OF ROBERT FROST by Lawrance- Ed. Thompson

SELECTED LETTERS OF ROBERT FROST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The definitive (so far, anyway) collection of Frost's letters to friends and family, from youth to old age. The editor- a long-time associate of the poet- has arranged everything into chronological groupings, with biographical prefaces. He even includes letters Frost's parents wrote to each other. Since Frost is now as much a publishing industry as he is a national monument, the book is bound to get the expected accolades; scholars and fans will be cherishing it for years. Highbrows won't; for if Elizabeth Hardwick found the Frost-Untermayer Letters dullish, nothing in the new batch will change the picture. They are, however, considerably more appealing, probably because they're considerably less personal; and what she called his ""vanity, ambition and ungenerosity"" is greatly muted, between the lines so to speak. Frost was a regional poet, an occasionally self-advertising honest Yankee, who ironically had to go to England to be recognized. Fame came late, and when it did come he was set in his ways, almost completely out of the mainstream of modernism, both culturally and politically. The letters point up that fact, but they do reflect changes: if in the '20's he damned Eliot, in the '50's, writing him to effect Pound's prison release, he called him ""great""; in the '30's he purned the New Deal, but in the '60's he was laureate of the Kennedy era. As he gets lder, the epistles become more ""public,"" so much so that the concluding ones are mostly exchanges with VIP's: Ike, Dulles, Udall, MacLeish, etc. The earlier sections- which Frost finds his way in life, art, and farming- are the best. Of particular value to libraries.

Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston