Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Critical Study

Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Critical Study

Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Critical Study

Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Critical Study

Excerpt

Few twentieth century poets have been more written about than Robinson. Recognized during the twenties, after a quarter-century of relative neglect, as the foremost of America's living poets, he became the subject of many articles and several books. Some of these reached a high critical level, and have permanent value; but all are necessarily tentative. Even Charles Cestre's full-scale study at the end of the decade, which won the warm approval of the poet himself., missed the last six volumes of Robinson's verse and took no account of his life, then almost completely unknown to anyone but a few intimate friends.

The six volumes just mentioned, each except Nicodemus devoted to a single long and not always lucid narrative, all even-tempered, farsighted, resolute in following a long-since-charted course through the gathering hurricane of social change, seemed to have little to say to a generation struggling, if not for mere survival, for one sort or another of escape; and neither the tributes evoked by Robinson's death nor the admirable biography by Hermann Hagedorn could check the trend of taste away from a poet whose deepest roots, after all, were in the nineteenth century.

The continuing publication of letters and reminiscences, however, has shown this trend to be far from uniform; and the recent book- length studies by Yvor Winters and Emery Neff testify further to the permanence and force of Robinson's appeal. Yet neither of these two works--partly because of the limitations imposed by the plans . . .

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