Belief and Uncertainty in the Poetry of Robert Frost

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UPNE, 2003 - Poetry - 242 pages
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Robert Pack’s lifelong delight in Robert Frost's intricate, beautiful, and profound poetry shines through in the essays in this book. He confronts such broad themes as mourning, inheritance, nature, and the imagination, bringing to bear historical, psychological, Darwinian, and close-textual-reading interpretive approaches. Chapter one sets Frost’s work in the tradition of nature writing, from the Book of Genesis through modern American ecological works. Chapter two examines the profound influences of the Book of Job, Darwin, and evolutionary theory on Frost’s thinking. There follow chapters that structurally and philosophically compare Wordsworth’s “Michael” to Frost’s “Wild Grapes,” focusing on the themes of inheritance, grieving, and the potency of the imagination. The reader encounters Frost as teacher and preacher, Frost’s idea of how beliefs are affirmed, the simultaneous representation of adult memory and immediate childhood sensation, and the underlying duality of place and nothingness, which forms the existential background for his “stay against confusion”—the consoling purpose of Frost's poetic art.

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Contents

Taking Dominion over the Wilderness I
1
Darwin the Book of Job and Frosts A Masque of Reason
33
Loss and Inheritance in Wordsworths Michael
61
Mourning and Acceptance
92
Stevens and Frost
112
Robert Frost as Teacher and Preacher
136
Robert Frosts As If Belief
150
SelfDeception Lying and Fictive Truthfulness
169
Place and Nothingness
193
Parenthood and Perspective
205
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ROBERT PACK has published fifteen volumes of his own poetry and is Middlebury College Professor Emeritus of Literature and Creative Writing. Currently, he is teaching in the Honors College of the University of Montana in Missoula. He and Jay Parini have edited eight poetry anthologies for UPNE, the most recent of which is Contemporary Poetry of New England (2002).

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