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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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The Sacrificial Son

The Sacrificial Son

(p.200) 5 The Sacrificial Son
Robinson Jeffers and the American Sublime
Stanford University Press

This chapter analyzes Jeffers' depiction of the sacrificial hero. He is referred to as the sacrificial son because he is invariably male, and because his defining condition is (in the broadest sense) Oedipal. Jeffers' earliest heroes—the nameless Young Man of “The Alpine Christ”; his alter ego, the incarnated Christ-figure Manuel Ruegg; and David Carrow, the protagonist of “A Coast-Range Christ”—all embody this figure. They are all evocations of or allusions to the historical Jesus. However, it is only with the mature Jeffers of the 1920s and 1930s that these avatars are discarded, and the archetype of the sacrificial son is directly represented in the person of Jesus himself.

Keywords:   Robinson Jeffers, sublime, sacrificial hero, Jesus

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