Robert Lowell

Robert Lowell (Robert Traill Spence Lowell 4th), 1917–77, American poet and translator, widely considered the preeminent poet of the mid-20th cent., b. Boston, grad. Kenyon College (B.A., 1940). A grandnephew of James Russell Lowell, in 1940 he converted to Roman Catholicism and married the writer Jean Stafford. During World War II he served a jail sentence as a conscientious objector. He taught at Boston Univ. and at Harvard. His second wife (1949–72) was the novelist and critic Elizabeth Hardwick.

Lowell's poetry is individualistic and intense, rich in symbolism and marked by great technical skill. His later work indicates a philosophic acceptance of life and the world. His Life Studies (1959) is a frank and highly autobiographical volume in verse and prose, one of the first and most influential works of what is widely called "confessional" poetry. Lowell often used his life as raw material for his verse, writing, for instance, of his family, his relationships with his wives, and his frequent bouts of depression and madness. Among his other poetry collections are Lord Weary's Castle (1946; Pulitzer Prize), For the Union Dead (1964), Near the Ocean (1967), Notebook: Nineteen Sixty-Seven to Nineteen Sixty-Eight (1969), The Dolphin (1973; Pulitzer Prize), Day by Day (1977), and Last Poems (1977). His translations include Racine's Phèdre (1969), Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound (1969), and miscellaneous European verse, collected as Imitations (1961). His dramatic adaptation of Melville's story "Benito Cereno" is part of Lowell's trilogy of plays, The Old Glory (1968).

See his collected poems ed. by F. Bidart and D. Gewanter (2003) and collected prose ed. by R. Giroux (1987); Robert Lowell: Interviews and Memoirs (1988), ed. by J. Meyers; The Letters of Robert Lowell (2005), ed. by S. Hamilton; T. Travisano and S. Hamilton, ed., Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (2008); biographies by I. Hamilton (1982), P. Mariani (1994), R. Tillinghast (1995), and S. P. Stuart (1998); studies by M. Perloff (1973), J. Crick (1974), J. Price, ed. (1974), S. Yenser (1975), S. G. Axelrod (1978), B. Raffel (1981), M. Rudman (1983), N. Procopiow (1984), J. Meyers (1985), S. G. Axelrod, ed. (1986 with H. Deese and 1999), H. Bloom, ed. (1987), K. Wallingford (1988), and W. Doreski (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2017, The Columbia University Press.

Robert Lowell: Selected full-text books and articles

The New Anthology of American Poetry By Steven Gould Axelrod; Camille Roman; Thomas Travisano Rutgers University Press, vol.3, 2012
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Shades of Authority: The Poetry of Lowell, Hill and Heaney By Stephen James University of Liverpool Press, 2007
Robert Lowell's Language of the Self By Katharine Wallingford University of North Carolina Press, 1988
Something to Say: William Carlos Williams on Younger Poets By William Carlos Williams; James E. B. Breslin New Directions, 1985
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
The Postmodern Turn in Robert Lowell's Poetry By Lecouras, Peter Studies in the Humanities, Vol. 27, No. 2, December 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Achievement of Robert Lowell By Tillinghast, Richard New Criterion, Vol. 22, No. 5, January 2004
Robert Lowell and Napoleon By Meyers, Jeffrey Notes on Contemporary Literature, Vol. 43, No. 2, March 2013
Fear of Flying: Robert Lowell and Travel By Gray, Jeffrey Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 41, No. 1, Winter 2005
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Memorials in Robert Lowell's Poetry: The Synthesis of the Public and the Private By Boksh, Shanjida K Transnational Literature, Vol. 7, No. 2, May 2015
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Signs of Life in Robert Lowell's "Skunk Hour" By Kearful, Frank J Connotations : a Journal for Critical Debate, Vol. 23, No. 2, May 1, 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Bipartisan Poetry in the 1950s: A Response to Frank J. Kearful's "Signs of Life in Robert Lowell's 'Skunk Hour'" * By Beardsworth, Adam Connotations : a Journal for Critical Debate, Vol. 24, No. 2, May 1, 2014
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Modern Voice in American Poetry By William Doreski University Press of Florida, 1995
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "Lowell: Autobiography and Vulnerability"
Readings By Sven Birkerts Graywolf Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: "Robert Lowell" begins on p. 206
The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English By Ian Hamilton Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Robert Lowell begins on p. 312
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