Jeffers, Robinson

Jeffers, Robinson

Jeffers, Robinson, 1887–1962, American poet and dramatist, b. Pittsburgh, grad. Occidental College, 1905. From 1914 until his death Jeffers lived on the Big Sur section of the rocky California coast, finding his inspiration in its stern beauty. For Jeffers the world, viewed pantheistically, was marred only by humanity, a doomed and inverted species, and its tainted civilization. He frequently used Greek myth to illustrate humankind's tortured mind, its diseased introspection, and its alienation from nature. Jeffers' poetry is virile, intense, and rich in elemental power, with dense clusters of words and sweeping rhythms. Among his volumes of poetry are Tamar and Other Poems (1924), Roan Stallion (1925), The Woman at Point Sur (1927), Cawdor (1928), Dear Judas (1929), Give Your Heart to the Hawks (1933), Such Counsels You Gave to Me (1937), The Double Axe & Other Poems (1948), and Hungerfield and Other Poems (1954). His adaptations of Greek tragedy—Medea (1947), The Tower beyond Tragedy (pub. 1924; produced 1950), and The Cretan Woman (1954)—brought him wide recognition.


See T. Hunt, ed., The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers (2001); his letters, ed. by A. N. Ridgway (1968) and by J. Karman (2 vol, 2009–); biographies by M. B. Bennett (1966) and R. J. Brophy (1975); studies by A. B. Coffin (1971), A. A. Vardamis (1972), R. J. Brophy (rev. ed. 1976), M. Beilke (1977), R. Zaller (1983 and 2012), and J. Karman (1987, repr. 1995); collections of essays on Jeffers ed. by J. Karman (1990), R. Zaller (1991), and R. Brophy (1995).

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Jeffers, (John) Robinson

(1887–1962) poet, writer; born in Pittsburgh, Pa. He attended six colleges and universities in Europe and America, studying medicine and forestry among other subjects. He began writing in 1912, and, from 1924 on, lived in seclusion by the ocean near Carmel, Calif., where he built his own stone house. He is known for his mythical lyrics and narrative poems, as in Roan Stallion, Tamar, and Other Poems (1925), most of which promoted his pessimistic view of humanity in the larger scheme of an impersonal cosmos.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Jeffers, Robinson. The Wild God of the West: An Anthology of Robinson Jeffers.
Jeffers, Robinson. A Selection of Shorter Poems by Robinson Jeffers, ed.
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