432 Western American Literature Winter 2013 generous, at times offer valuable glimpses of how he viewed his work, but are never simply casual or chatty. Perhaps what is most revelatory in these letters is the gap they document between Jeffers's persona of "Jeffers," the "I" who speaks so many of his poems, and the actual Jeffers who wrote the poems--a construction that, clearly, Robinson and Una Jeffers understood in literary terms. Writing her friend Phoebe Barkan, on March 30, 1934, Una Jeffers mentions reading a recently published biography of Dorothy Wordsworth, then adds, "There is no woman in life or literature with whom I feel in a thousand ways so close an affinity" (308). In an undated 1939 letter, written shortly after a period of marital difficulties and while he was struggling with writer's block, Jeffers wrote to Una that he was "not willing yet to grow old at fifty like Wordsworth ... something will happen--and life through this hell come home to me--something will change" (1049). That Una seems to have understood herself as Dorothy Wordsworth to Jeffers's William and that Jeffers, as well, seems to have seen William as a kind of precursor (to learn from
Western American Literature – The Western Literature Association
Published: Feb 20, 2013
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