Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1869–1935, American poet, b. Head Tide, Maine, attended Harvard (1891–93). At his death, many critics considered Robinson the greatest poet in the United States. He is now best remembered for his short poems characterizing various residents of "Tilbury Town," which was based on his hometown, Gardiner, Maine. His first volume of verse, The Torrent and the Night Before (1896), was revised and reissued as The Children of the Night (1897). In 1899, Robinson settled in New York City. Although his third volume of verse, Captain Craig (1902), was poorly received by critics, it attracted the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt, who secured Robinson a job in the New York customshouse. He finally achieved critical recognition with The Man against the Sky (1916). Thereafter he concentrated on long psychological narrative poems, such as Avon's Harvest (1921), The Man Who Died Twice (1924; Pulitzer Prize), Dionysus in Doubt (1925), and the Arthurian romances Merlin (1917), Lancelot (1920), and Tristram (1928; Pulitzer Prize). A quiet, introverted man, Robinson never married and became legendary for his reclusiveness. Although his later poetry reveals a deep consciousness of social issues, an experimentation with symbolism, and an increasingly optimistic view of human destiny, his most lasting work is probably his early verse. "Miniver Cheevy" and "Richard Cory" are among the most famous of his brief, dramatic poems. Volumes of his collected poems were published in 1921 (Pulitzer Prize), 1937, and years after his work fell out of popular and critical fashion, in 1999.

See his letters, ed. by R. Torrence (1940, repr. 1980), D. Sutcliffe (1947), and R. Cary (1968); biographies by C. P. Smith (1965) and L. O. Coxe (1969); studies by Y. Winters (1946, repr. 1971) and D. Burton (1986).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Edwin Arlington Robinson: Selected full-text books and articles

Edwin Arlington Robinson By Yvor Winters New Directions Books, 1946
Collected Poems of Edwin Arlington Robinson By Edwin Arlington Robinson Macmillan, 1937
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Tristram," "Avon's Harvest," and "The Man against the Sky"
Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Reappraisal By Louis Untermeyer U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1963
Philosophy in the Poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson By Estelle Kaplan Columbia University Press, 1940
Spokesmen: Modern Writers and American Life By T. K. Whipple D. Appleton and Company, 1928
Poets & Their Art By Harriet Monroe Macmillan, 1926
Librarian’s tip: "Edwin Arlington Robinson" begins on p. 1
I Hear America ...: Literature in the United States since 1900 By Vernon Loggins Biblo and Tannen, 1967
Librarian’s tip: "Edwin Arlington Robinson" begins on p. 51
The Literature of the American People: An Historical and Critical Survey By Arthur Hobson Quinn Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1951
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 40 "Lingering Urbanity"
Edwin Arlington Robinson By Mark Van Doren The Literary Guild of America, 1927
A Library of Literary Criticism: Modern American Literature By Dorothy Nyren; Dorothy Nyren Frederick Ungar, 1960 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Robinson, Edwin Arlington (1869-1935)" begins on p. 404
FREE! The New Era in American Poetry By Louis Untermeyer Henry Holt, 1919
Librarian’s tip: "Edwin Arlington Robinson" begins on p. 111
FREE! Van Zorn: A Comedy in Three Acts By Edwin Arlington Robinson Macmillan Company, 1914
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