Robert Frost is by far the most celebrated major American poet of the twentieth century. In part, this is because his poetry seems, on the surface, to be so accessible, even homey. But Frost was not just a powerful writer of popular lyric and narrative verse, argues Peter J. Stanlis in this major contribution to American literary study and philosophy. Rather, his work is deeply rooted in a complex philosophical dualism that opposes both idealistic monism, centered in spirit, and scientific positivism, which posits that the universe can be understood as nothing but matter.
In Robert Frost: The Poet as Philosopher, Stanlis shows how Frost’s philosophical dualism of spirit and matter is perceived through metaphors and applied to science, religion, art, education, and society. He further argues that Frost’s dualism provides a critique of the monistic forces that were instrumental in the triumph of twentieth-century totalitarianism. Thoroughly informed by his twenty-three year friendship and correspondence with Frost, Stanlis's landmark volume is the first attempt to deal with the poet’s philosophy in a systematic manner. It will appeal not only to fans of Frost but to all who understand poetry as a form of revelation for understanding human nature.