Books: A Poet Revealed

ROBERT FROST: THE YEARS OF TRIUMPH, 1915-1938 by Lawrence Thompson. 743 pages. Holt, Rinehart & Winston. $15.

It is easy to confuse beauty with goodness, but there is no law that says sound character is a requirement of great poetry. Nature has often endowed her poets in disturbing and mystifying ways. Take Robert Frost, for example —known to a vast public as the lovable old curmudgeon with the little horse and the harness bells. As this mercilessly detailed biography shows, Frost was jealous and vindictive, a malicious gossip and a petty schemer. The man who told the world he had promises to...

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