Robert Lowell: Life and Art

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This major interpretation of the life and art of Robert Lowell exposes the full relationship between the poetry and the personal and national experience to which it is so remarkably connected.

Steven Axelrod proposes that the key to our understanding of Lowell's poetic achievement lies precisely in this interpenetration of his life and his art. Originally published in The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press.

These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions.

Robert Lowell at 100: why his poetry has never been more relevant

The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in Not that the poems are unmediated or spontaneous: he was a rigorous rewriter, who altered facts where it suited him and whose finished poems rarely contained a line of his first drafts. But Life Studies opened up new possibilities for poetic subject matter and made Lowell, along with his friends John Berryman and Elizabeth Bishop, one of the most influential poets of the midth century.


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Lowell continued to make art from life. The title poem of his collection For the Union Dead combines American social change with personal loss.

In , he controversially deployed letters from his second wife, the writer Elizabeth Hardwick, in The Dolphin. But Lowell knew he was privileged, and the beauty and specificity with which he describes his world creates space for the reader to reflect on their own experience. Grand, intimate, eccentric, funny, disturbing — the voice of Lowell, who died in , is distinctly American.

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