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Robinson Jeffers and the American Sublime$
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Robert Zaller

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804775632

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804775632.001.0001

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Transcendental Etudes

Transcendental Etudes

(p.46) 2 Transcendental Etudes
Robinson Jeffers and the American Sublime
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines Emerson's influence on the poetry of Jeffers. It discusses Emerson's engagement with the sublime and then considers Jeffers' most obvious appropriation (and reworking) of Emerson in his early sonnet sequence, “The Truce and the Peace.” The occasion of the sequence was the armistice that ended World War I, an event that had deeply shaken his faith in civilization and forced him to confront violence as a universal fact of experience. The sequence, with its rhymed quatrains, is not yet the Jeffers who found his distinctive voice in blank verse, but it contains so many of his subsequent themes and images that it might almost be considered the matrix of his mature art.

Keywords:   Robinson Jeffers, sublime, poetry, Emerson, The Truce and the Peace

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