Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers, 1887–1962, American poet and dramatist, b. Pittsburgh, grad. Occidental College, 1905. From 1914 until his death Jeffers lived on the Big Sur section of the rocky California coast, finding his inspiration in its stern beauty. For Jeffers the world, viewed pantheistically, was marred only by humanity, a doomed and inverted species, and its tainted civilization. He frequently used Greek myth to illustrate humankind's tortured mind, its diseased introspection, and its alienation from nature. Jeffers' poetry is virile, intense, and rich in elemental power, with dense clusters of words and sweeping rhythms. Among his volumes of poetry are Tamar and Other Poems (1924), Roan Stallion (1925), The Woman at Point Sur (1927), Cawdor (1928), Dear Judas (1929), Give Your Heart to the Hawks (1933), Such Counsels You Gave to Me (1937), The Double Axe & Other Poems (1948), and Hungerfield and Other Poems (1954). His adaptations of Greek tragedy—Medea (1947), The Tower beyond Tragedy (pub. 1924; produced 1950), and The Cretan Woman (1954)—brought him wide recognition.

See T. Hunt, ed., The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers (2001); his letters, ed. by A. N. Ridgway (1968) and by J. Karman (2 vol, 2009–); biographies by M. B. Bennett (1966) and R. J. Brophy (1975); studies by A. B. Coffin (1971), A. A. Vardamis (1972), R. J. Brophy (rev. ed. 1976), M. Beilke (1977), R. Zaller (1983 and 2012), and J. Karman (1987, repr. 1995); collections of essays on Jeffers ed. by J. Karman (1990), R. Zaller (1991), and R. Brophy (1995).

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

Robinson Jeffers: Selected full-text books and articles

Robinson Jeffers and the American Sublime By Robert Zaller Stanford University Press, 2012
Medea By Robinson Jeffers; Euripides Random House, 1946
The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers By Robinson Jeffers Random House, 1938
The Spiritual Aspects of the New Poetry By Amos N. Wilder Harper & Brothers, 1940 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XII "The Nihilism of Robinson Jeffers"
American Literature and the Dream By Frederic I. Carpenter Philosophical Library, 1955
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 16 "Death Comes for Robinson Jeffers"
I Hear America ...: Literature in the United States since 1900 By Vernon Loggins Biblo and Tannen, 1967
Librarian’s tip: "Robinson Jeffers" begins on p. 60
Symbolism in Religion and Literature By Rollo May George Braziller, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Robinson Jeffers begins on p. 102
The Myth of Medea and the Murder of Children By Lillian Corti Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Robinson Jeffers begins on p. 201
New Poets from Old: A Study in Literary Genetics By Henry W. Wells Columbia University Press, 1940
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Robinson Jeffers begins on p. 214
A Library of Literary Criticism: Modern American Literature By Dorothy Nyren; Dorothy Nyren Frederick Ungar, 1960 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Jeffers, Robinson (1887- )" begins on p. 257
Writers and Philosophers: A Sourcebook of Philosophical Influences on Literature By Edmund J. Thomas; Eugene G. Miller Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Jeffers, Robinson" begins on p. 102
The Literary West: An Anthology of Western American Literature By Thomas J. Lyon Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Granite and Cypress," "Tor House," "November Surf," "Gray Weather,""Signpost," and "The Answer" by Robinson Jeffers
Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment By Joy A. Palmer; David E. Cooper; Peter Blaze Corcoran Routledge, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Robinson, Jeffers, 1887-1962" begins on p. 181
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