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Frost and Untermeyer

In response to:

Frost in His Letters from the October 31, 1963 issue

To the Editors:

My reactions to Elizabeth Hardwick’s often phraseworthy consideration of The Letters of Robert Frost to Louis Untermeyer are triply prejudiced: I consider Frost a superlative letter writer; I was a friend of his; and I am married to the recipient of the correspondence. Even were I none of these, I still might be astonished by her insinuating remark that “We shall have to wait for other Frost letters to get his full opinion of Untermeyer.”

In the more than two hundred and sixty letters that Robert Frost wrote to my husband over a period of almost fifty years, he expressed numerous nuances of a singular and affectionate regard: admiration, exasperation, concern, dependency, delight, possessiveness, gratitude, enjoyment, criticism, anger, security and trust, to name a few. Where Robert’s attitude to Louis is not expressed explicitly, it is so implicitly.

In view of this rather “full” evidence, is there not a rather unpleasant atmosphere about Miss Hardwick’s comment? She suggests that these intimate letters of a man to his best friend are a trifle hypocritical, not to be taken at their face value—wait, eventually we may find out what Robert really thought of Louis during their long, confidential, marvelously playful (an element Miss Hardwick does not even mention) association.

Bryna Ivens Untermeyer

Newtown, Conn.

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