Robert Frost (1874-1963)

A selective list of online literary criticism for American poet Robert Frost, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars, articles published in reviewed sources, and web sites that adhere to the MLA Guidelines for Web Pages


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introduction & biography

"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. Frost's Life and Career, essays by William H. Pritchard and Stanley Burnshaw. Modern American Poetry (Univ. of Illinois), eds. Cary Nelson and Edward Brunner.

"Robert Frost." Poetry Foundation. 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.

"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.

"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.

On Robert Pinsky's "America's Favorite Poem" Project, which determined that Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" is the best loved poem in the U.S. The (UK) Guardian 11 April 2000.

"Robert Frost." A very short biographical introduction to Robert Frost, from educational publisher Gale.

Glenn, Karen. "Robert Frost in the Petri Dish." On Frost's interest in science; suggests ways teachers could use Frost's poetry in a middle-school science class. Poetry Foundation.

Parini, Jay. Robert Frost: A Life. Reviewed in the NY Times, 25 April 1999.

"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 (1966–1976), and editions of Frost's poetry. New Criterion June 1996.

Francis, Lesley Lee. Publisher's web site for Robert Frost: An Adventure In Poetry, 1900-1918 (Transaction Publishers 2004). Also, a review: "The poet's granddaughter refutes the 'crude psychoanalytical' interpretation of Frost proffered by Lawrance Thompson in his contentious biography and offers instead a picture of a generous, responsible, and playful father-poet." Kirkus' Review, 1 April 1994.

"The Poet as Neurotic: The Official Biography of Robert Frost." On Lawrance Thompson's portrayal of Frost in his three-volume Robert Frost (1966–1976). American Literature 58, 3 (Oct. 1986) [first page of article only].


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) [first page of article only].

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].

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

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 Summer 2002 [first half of article only].

Faggen, Robert. The Cambridge Introduction to Robert Frost (Cambridge UP). Publisher's site; preview available of Chapter 1: Life.

Faggen, Robert. Questions about the accuracy of Faggen's transcription of The Notebooks of Robert Frost. NY Times 22 Jan. 2008.

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 [first page of article only].

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.

Gelpi, Albert. "Robert Frost and John Crowe Ransom" in A Coherent Splendor: The American Poetic Renaissance, 1910-1950 (Cambridge UP 1987). Professor Gelpi traces the roots of American Modernist poetry as both a reaction to and outgrowth of American Romanticism. He points out that Frost's attitude toward nature was divided: "Frost was both Calvinist and Romantic - and neither; nature, he knew, was inhuman, but his hesitation about whether its inhumanity meant that nature was savage or divine made him wary both of finding salvation in surrender to the land and of "getting too transcended" (10).

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.

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 [first page of article only].

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) [first page of article only].

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 Spring 2008.

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.

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 [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 [first half of article 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.

Robert Frost Collection. List of the Robert Frost documents in the the Jones Library Collection in Amherst, Mass.


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