Cover image for Elected friends : Robert Frost & Edward Thomas to one another
Elected friends : Robert Frost & Edward Thomas to one another
Frost, Robert, 1874-1963.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Handsel Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
xli, 216 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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PS3511.R94 Z485 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Robert Frost and Edward Thomas met in a bookshop in London in 1913. During the next four years, the two writers--Frost, an unknown poet who had sold his farm in New Hampshire in order to take his family to England for one last gamble on poetry and Thomas, a sad literary journalist--formed the most important friendship between poets since that of Wordsworth and Coleridge. Their friendship only ended with Thomas' death in Arras, France, a casualty of the First World War.

The story of Edward Thomas' turn to poetry, in fact, has been dominated by the account of Robert Frost's injunction: to break his existing prose into lines, bringing his musical cadence and his direct speaking voice into conversation with formal prosody. Thomas himself had already championed Frost's own early work: These poems are revolutionary because they lack the exaggeration of rhetoric.... Their language is free from the poetical words and forms that are the chief material of the secondary poets. The metre avoids not only old fashioned pomp and sweetness, but the later fashion also of discord and fuss. In fact the medium is common speech.... Mr. Frost has, in fact, gone back, as Whitman and as Wordsworth went back, through the paraphernalia of poetry into poetry once again.

This book presents for the first time the full record, arranged chronologically, of what the poets wrote to, for, and about one another--their letters, poems, and Thomas' review of Frost's first two books. They reveal a warmth and charm that give us the key to the relationship between Frost and Thomas.

Author Notes

Robert Frost, the quintessential poet of New England, was born in San Francisco in 1874. He was educated at Dartmouth College and Harvard University. Although he managed to support himself working solely as a poet for most of his life and holding various posts with a number of universities, as a young man he was employed as a bobbin boy in a mill, a cobbler, a schoolteacher, and a farmer.

Frost, whose poetry focuses on natural images of New England, received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry four times for: New Hampshire, Collected Poems, A Further Range, and A Witness Tree. His works are noted for combining characteristics of both romanticism and modernism. He also wrote A Boy's Will, North of Boston, Mountain Interval, and The Gift Outright, among others.

Frost married Elinor Miriam White in 1895, and they had six children--Elliott, Lesley, Carol, Irma, Marjorie, and Elinor Bettina. He died in Boston in 1963.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Although they were friends for just a brief time (1914 to 1917, when Thomas died in combat), Frost and Thomas were true soul mates and important catalysts to one another's artistic development. Thomas's reviews of Frost's work established the poet on the literary scene, and Frost's companionship roused the latent poet in Thomas, leading to the poems (relatively few) that would establish his poetic legacy (relatively minor) far more than would the more than 30 volumes of literary journalism Thomas had produced before meeting Frost. Yet the roughly 80 letters of this volume are of little literary interest: most are mundane, and few include authorial reflections, critical judgments, or formulations of literary principles that would shed light on the work of either man. Fewer than a dozen letters were written by Frost, the figure of greater scholarly interest. The only compelling aspects of this collection are the arc of Thomas's brooding on his destiny and his possible death in battle, and the sheer eloquence of Frost's few letters, especially his letter of condolence to Thomas's widow. Accordingly, this is a book of human but not scholarly interest. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Extensive academic and public collections; any level. R. J. Cirasa Kean University