23 May, 2015

Robert Frost's First Edition Collection


--- "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

I'm a Robert Frost fan, so today's bookporn is my collection of Frost's first editions. In the foreground are two of his four poetry collections that won the Pulitzer. Frost is the only poet to have won four Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, so it is no wonder he is sometimes known as the dean of American poets. His four Pulitzer is also the most any individual won across all categories; only Eugene O'Neill and Robert Sherwood equaled his feat. On the center is a copy of "A Boy's Will" in second issue binding D, Frost's first commercially published book. "Twilight" remains Frost first book; only one copy exists and it sold for 3,000USD in  December 1962 to a Mr. Roy Thornton, and ended up, I think, at University of Virginia's Clifton Waller Barrett Library. The top of the pile, behind and supporting "A Boy's Will", is "New Hampshire", which is another Pulitzer winner, without the dust jacket. The background are first editions of Frost's later work.


Frost's poems are often direct and economical, with a strong emphasis on the American rural (New Hampshire, North of Boston) and the problems of individual existentialism - the loneliness, the dilemma, the impetuousness, the regrets. These qualities, to me, make Frost's poems, for its avoidance of complexity, opacity, or obscure allusion, very accessible to the general readers. They also sometimes cause Frost's work be to misinterpreted. The best example is perhaps the famous "The Road Not Taken", which is a "regret" poem often construed as one that encourages risk-taking.

Frost's publication is extensive, spanning from 1913's "A Boy's Will" to 1962's "In the Clearing", his last work before passing on in 1963. However the online references are limited for those who are interested in collecting Frost's first editions. I've used, for example, Amherst College's archive. For the serious collector, Crane's "Robert Frost - A Descriptive Catalogue of Books and Manuscripts in the Clifton Waller Barrett Library" is indispensable. For the images, Bookporn Club is here to fill the gap.

Below are the links to my posting of Frost's first editions:




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