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Throughout, the thesis foregrounds Hardy’s and Frost’s concern for local memories.Beginning with how the formal properties of Hardy’s and Frost’s verse appeal to human cognitive pre-dispositions, the project ends by considering how identity is culturally conditioned, and how Hardy’s and Frost’s poetry restores to significance those individuating features otherwise forgotten by cognitive and cultural memory systems.The dominant critical discourse surrounding the poet holds that beneath the surface of Frost s homespun wisdom and provincial charm beats the heart of a despairing man, whose poetry reflects the abandonment of hope, the stark confrontation between the frail and fleeting human and the indifferent and eternal universe.
Frost usually starts with an observation in nature, contemplates it and then connects it to some psychological concern (quoted in Thompson). Gerber, Phillip L., Robert Frost Revised Edition, ed. Lynen, John F., The Pastoral Art of Robert Frost New Haven, Yale University Press, 1960. Robert Frost; Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays 1st Edition, New York, The Library of America, 1995.
According to Thompson, “His poetic impulse starts with some psychological concern and finds its way to a material embodiment which usually includes a natural scene” (quoted in Thompson). Lynen, “Frost sees in nature a symbol of man’s relation to the world. From that last statement, one can recognize that indeed Robert Frost’s nature poetry is more than blooming flowers and snowy nights; obviously there is an underlying psychological meaning in most of his poems. Modern Critical Views; Robert Frost First Edition, New York et al, Chelsea House Pub., 1986.
Interdisciplinary in nature, this thesis uses evidence from psychological experiments to emphasise the cognitive fundamentals which underpin those Hardy and Frost poems remembered as aesthetic or cultural artefacts.
Four core chapters explore issues of expectation, recognition, voice and identity, showing the meeting points for Hardyean and Frostian memory and offering new readings which connect these canonical figures.
This may be hard for some to grasp, as Frost is world renowned for his alleged nature theme.
Contrary to popular opinion, nature is not Frost’s central theme in his poetry; it is the contrast between man and nature as well as the conflicts that arise between the two entities.
This makes sense as Frost did consider himself to be a shepherd.
Frost uses nature as an image that he wants us to see or a metaphor that he wants us to relate to on a psychological level. His poetry is in the main psychologically oriented with emphasis on specific recurring themes, which include, but are not limited to, loneliness, retreat, spirituality, darkness, and death.
Hardy and Frost are also revealed as poets who see the unique properties of poetry as a genre in which certain phenomena, people and places might be remembered, if not preserved.
While having a strong basis in close analysis and literary history, the project breaks new ground in setting concepts familiar to poetry scholarship within a scientific framework.