Robert Frost's Letters Might Salvage His Image

New volume could undo the damage of scathing biography
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2014 4:58 PM CST
This handout photo provided by the National Portrait Gallery shows Robert Frost, around 1955.   (AP Photo/Clara Sipprell Gelatin, National Portrait Gallery)

(Newser) – This month, Harvard will publish the first in a four-volume set of letters written by Robert Frost that might finally undo what Frost scholars call the "monster myth," reports the New York Times. That "myth" is largely the result of a decades-old biography by Lawrance Thompson that depicts Frost as an egomaniac and lousy person in general. “There’s been a kind of persistent sense of Frost as a hypocrite, as someone who showed one face to the public and another privately,” says one of the editors of The Letters of Robert Frost. "These letters will dispel all that."

The first volume covers the first half of his life, including his transformation from farmer to leading poet, and thus will probably be the the most important of the four, notes Harvard Magazine. Hundreds of the letters haven't been previously published, and taken together, they should help "readers cut through biographical opinion, pro or con, and form their own theories about who Frost was and what drove him," writes Adam Kirsch. (Read more Robert Frost stories.)

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