Literary Criticism online

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

A selective list of online literary criticism and analysis for twentieth-century American poet Robert Frost, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources


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introduction & biography

Frost's Life and Career. Outstanding biographies of Frost, by William H. Pritchard and Stanley Burnshaw. Modern American Poetry (Univ. of Illinois),

"Robert Frost." Excerpts of influential critical commentaries for the following poems: Mending Wall; Home Burial; After Apple-Picking; The Wood-Pile; The Road Not Taken; Birches; The Oven Bird; An Old Man's Winter Night; The Hill Wife; Fire and Ice; Good-By and Keep Cold; The Need of Being Versed in Country Things; Design; The Witch of Coos; Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening; Acquainted With the Night; Gathering Leaves; In a Disused Graveyeard; Nothing Gold Can Stay; Desert Places; Two Tramps in Mud Time; Neither Our Far Nor In Deep; Never Again Would Birds' Song Be the Same; The Gift Outright; Provide, Provide. eds. Cary Nelson and Edward Brunner. Modern American Poetry (Univ. of Illinois)

"Robert Frost." An encyclopedia-type introduction to Robert Frost. Covers his themes, style, ideas, and reception, and his connection with the Modernist poets. List of Frost's publications, and a secondary bibliography. Poetry Foundation.

"Robert Frost." A brief introduction to Robert Frost, with text for selected poems. Also, "A Close Look at Robert Frost," by John Hollander, who offers a close reading of "The Oven Bird." Academy of American Poets.

Frost, Carol. "Sincerity and Inventions: On Robert Frost." Discusses some of the poets who influenced Robert Frost and his other sources. Academy of American Poets.

"Robert Frost's Contrarieties." Audio file and transcript of a lecture by critic Stanley Burnshaw, on Frost's themes and techniques. Academy of American Poets.

Hammer, Langdon. "Lecture 2 - Robert Frost." The first of two Yale Univ. lectures on Frost by a well-known academic expert in modern poetry. "The poetry and life of Robert Frost are characterized in opposition to the works of nineteenth-century poets and Modernists Eliot and Pound. Frost's poetic project, how he positions himself among his contemporaries, his poetics of work, and his concept of 'the sound of sense' are discussed." Available as an audio file, video file, or transcript. Yale Univ., English 310, Spring 2007.

"The rehabilitation of Robert Frost." On Frost as a nature poet, biographies of Frost, particularly Lawrance Thompson's damaging portrayal in his three-volume Robert Frost, and editions of Frost's poetry. New Criterion June 1996.

"The Poet as Neurotic: The Official Biography of Robert Frost." On Lawrance Thompson's portrayal of Frost in his three-volume Robert Frost. American Literature 58, 3 (Oct. 1986) [jstor preview or purchase].

Guimond, James, ed. Robert Frost Teaching Guide. Prof. Guimond notes that while students generally respond well to Frost's poems, they may have trouble appreciating his skill and subtlety. From educational publisher Heath.

Barry, Elaine. A selection from Barry's Robert Frost on Writing (1973). Frost's thoughts on the art of poetry, technique, and theory, taken from remarks he made in letters, prefaces, interviews, etc. Frost Free Library.

Barron, Jonathan N. "Robert Frost." Literary Encyclopedia, 13 Dec. 2004. Eds. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott, Janet Todd. An introduction to Frost, from a database that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field, and is available to individuals for a reasonably-priced subscription [subscription service].


literary criticism

Bell, Vereen. "Robert Frost and the Nature of Narrative." "The problem with Robert Frost's narrative poems from, say, a southerner's point of view, is that they are boring," Professor Bell begins. New England Review and Bread Loaf Quarterly, 8, 1 (Autumn 1985) [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Bidney, Martin. "The secretive-playful epiphanies of Robert Frost: Solitude, companionship, and the ambivalent imagination." Bidney explicates the themes and patterns that unify the major epiphanies in Frost's poems. Papers on Language and Literature 38, 3 (Summer 2002) [questia subscription service].

Francis, Lesley Lee. "Robert Frost and the Child Mother Goose and 'the Imagination Thing.'" Frost's granddaughter writes about the influence of family members on the development of Frost's poetry. Massachusetts Review Summer 2004 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Hass, Robert Bernard. "(Re)Reading Bergson: Frost, Pound and the Legacy of Modern Poetry." On the supposed failure of high modernism. Journal of Modern Literature Fall 2005 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Heaney, Seamus. "(Re)Above the Brim: On Robert Frost." Poet Seamus Heaney writes of his "lifetime of pleasure in Frost's poems as events in language." Salmagundi 88/89 (1990/91) [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Hinrichsen, Lisa. "A Defensive Eye: Anxiety, Fear and Form in the Poetry of Robert Frost." Hinrichsen contends that "Frost's poems enact a poetic and psychic process of displacing and managing generalized anxiety through converting it into object-specific fear." Considers The Vantage Point, The Mending Wall, The Wood-Pile, The Fear, An Old Man's Winter Night, and A Considerable Speck. Journal of Modern Literature 31, 3 (Spring 2008) pp 44-57 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Hollander, John. "A Close Look at Robert Frost." On Frost's mythologizing of a common ground-walking warbler in "The Oven Bird." American Poet Spring 1998.

Liebman, Sheldon W. "Robert Frost, romantic - poet." On whether, and in what sense, Frost was a romantic. Twentieth Century Literature 42, 4 (Winter 1996) [questia subscription service].

Link, Eric Carl. "Nature's extra-vagrants: Frost and Thoreau in the Maine woods." Link explores similarities between Frost and Henry David Thoreau, arguing that "although Thoreau and Frost are traditionally seen as relatively optimistic in their exploration of Nature, both are in many respects dark romantics." Papers on Language and Literature Spring 1997 [questia subscription service].

Lynen, John F. "Nature and Pastoralism." A chapter from The Pastoral Art of Robert Frost (Yale UP 1960). Lynen discusses Frost's use of nature and compares him to William Wordsworth. Frost Free Library.

Monteiro, G. "Roads and Paths." A chapter from Robert Frost & The New England Renaissance (UP of Kentucky 1988). On "The Road Not Taken," and the traditional theme of "a choice of two paths" Frost Free Library.

Regan, Stephen. "North of Boston: Models of Identity, Subjectivity and Place in the Poems of Robert Frost." How Frost established continuity with British and American Romantic traditions while at the same time questioning Romanticism. Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net 51 (2008).

Westover, Jeff. "National forgetting and remembering in the Poetry of Robert Frost." Frost's treatment of Native Americans in his poems. Texas Studies in Literature and Language Summer 2004 [jstor, first page only].


web sites

Friends of Robert Frost. Help for students, including free articles in the Frost Free Library, book excerpts, a biography, and a chronology.

Robert Frost reads "After Apple-Picking" [audio file]. From the education series "Voices and Visions."

"A Frost Bouquet: Robert Frost, His Family, and the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature." Images of Frost first editions, information about Frost's family, and more. Univ. of Virginia Library.


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