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Old 07-30-2011, 12:07 AM
Duncan Gillies MacLaurin's Avatar
Duncan Gillies MacLaurin Duncan Gillies MacLaurin is offline
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Default Frost's and Thomas' Friendship

Matthew Hollis has a long piece in The Guardian that draws on his new book, Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas. In it he describes how significant Frost's and Thomas' friendship was for both of them:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011...-thomas-poetry

Duncan
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:41 AM
Gregory Dowling Gregory Dowling is offline
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Thanks for posting this, Duncan. Very fascinating. I knew that Frost had written "The Road Not Taken" partly with Thomas in mind and had read the correspondence, which is preserved at Cardiff University Library. I had never realised how personally Thomas took it. To tell the truth, I had always felt rather comforted by the fact that so intelligent a reader as Thomas had apparently "misread" the poem, as I did on my first reading, missing the "trickiness" and taking it at face-value as a straightforward declaration of sturdy American "self-reliance".

Frost wrote an elegy for Thomas, "To E.T.", which appears in New Hampshire and is fairly well-known. However, rather less famous is a later poem, "Iris by Night", from A Further Range, which draws on memories of a walk in the Malverns together. Here it is:

Quote:
One misty evening, one anotherís guide,
We two were groping down a Malvern side
The last wet fields and dripping hedges home.
There came a moment of confusing lights,
Such as according to belief in Rome
Were seen of old at Memphis on the heights
Before the fragments of a former sun
Could concentrate anew and rise as one.
Light was a paste of pigment in our eyes.
And then there was a moon and then a scene
So watery as to seem submarine;
In which we two stood saturated, drowned.
The clover-mingled rowan on the ground
Had taken all the water it could as dew,
And still the air was saturated too,
Its airy pressure turned to water weight.
Then a small rainbow like a trellis gate,
A very small moon-made prismatic bow,
Stood closely over us through which to go.
And then we were vouchsafed the miracle
That never yet to other two befell
And I alone of us have lived to tell.
A wonder! Bow and rainbow as it bent,
Instead of moving with us as we went,
(To keep the pots of gold from being found)
It lifted from its dewy pediment
Its two mote-swimming many-colored ends,
And gathered them together in a ring.
And we two stood in it softly circled round
From all division time or foe can bring
In a relation of elected friends.
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Old 07-30-2011, 04:03 AM
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Duncan Gillies MacLaurin Duncan Gillies MacLaurin is offline
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Good one, Gregory!

Duncan
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Old 07-30-2011, 04:39 AM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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That's a grand essay. Thank you, Duncan. Mason loaned me a superb book about young Frost and his years in England. Anyone know the title and author? This is the first I've heard of the gamekeeper episode. I've had many encounters with wardens in my time! Most of them are very decent people, woodcrafty schoolteachers earning a little extra on autumn weekends; but there are always a few in any line of law enforcement who let the badge and revolver go to their heads and turn into towering assholes.
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:28 AM
Marcia Karp Marcia Karp is offline
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You might look for Elected Friends: Robert Frost & Edward Thomas To One Another, edited by Matthew Spencer. Letters, poems, and reviews to, for, and about each other.

Best,
Marcia
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:41 AM
Gregory Dowling Gregory Dowling is offline
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I think Into My Own by John Evangelist Walsh is the book you're thinking of, Tim. I think it's the most detailed study of his time in England.
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:30 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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I enjoyed that article, Duncan. Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:41 AM
Gregory Dowling Gregory Dowling is offline
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Anyone who has followed this thread will be interested to know that Martin Hollis's biography is "Book of the Week" on BBC Radio 4 this week. You can find each programme on-line at this address for a week after its first broadcast.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:59 AM
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Duncan Gillies MacLaurin Duncan Gillies MacLaurin is offline
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It has just been announced that Hollis has won the Costa Prize for Biography. The overall winner from the five categories will be announced on 24th January.

Duncan

Last edited by Duncan Gillies MacLaurin; 01-04-2012 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:51 PM
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Duncan Gillies MacLaurin Duncan Gillies MacLaurin is offline
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Pipped at the post.
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