Robert Frost: The Ethics of Ambiguity

Robert Frost: The Ethics of Ambiguity

by John H. Timmerman


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Robert Frost: The Ethics of Ambiguity by John H. Timmerman

As one explores Frost's ethical thinking through his body of prose and poetry, one discovers a conflicted and often confusing world. Some apparently overt claims are shaded in context by tones of cynicism or skepticism. Values he apparently lauded in his work he violated freely in his life. Ideals he longed for are often crushed under a bitter sense of reality. Consequently, the important questions to ask about Frost's ethiscs are whether any systematic patterns emerge, what influenced such patterns, and, most importantly, how they are manifested in the poetry. To examine such issues, the critical methodology of this study is contextual, with emphasis upon three primary contexts. The first context is the nature of the work itself - the fundamental influences upon Frost's art and the way he shapes the poetic work to engage an ethical issue. The second significant context entering this discussion is historical/biographical. While it is not the aim to read Frost's poems directly in the context of life events, as a poet who is often narrative in style, his own life inevitably colors the story of the work. Furthermore, the understanding of ethical situation and response is significantly enhanced by an understanding of the personal and historical details behind the work. Finally, the third and most important context comes directly from the philosophy of ethics itself, demonstrating that consistent ethics, even though intrinsically encapsulated in ambiguity and ambivalence, does in fact appear in Frost's work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611481747
Publisher: Bucknell University Press
Publication date: 08/01/2002
Pages: 198
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John H. Timmerman received his Ph.D. from Ohio University and is currently Professor of American Literature at Calvin College. He has authored numerous articles on American literature and over twenty books, including the following on American literature: John Steinbeck's Fiction, The Dramatic Landscape of Steinbeck's Short Stories, T.S. Eliot's Ariel Poems (Bucknell University Press, 1994), and Jane Kenyon: A Literary Life.

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