The Notebooks of Robert Frost were published three years ago to rapturous approval. Frost is still an American icon and an American nonesuch, the last major poet to find a public audience—his poems say more about the American character than any poet’s after Whitman. Though Frost’s America seems distant almost a century after the publication of North of Boston, he remains the most quoted American modern. The notebooks gave a rare look inside his workshop, showing the painstaking and sometimes clumsy way his poems, essays, and talks were put together. Reviewers for newspapers and magazines, working to short deadlines, usually trust the labors of scholars. Still, it was hazardous for the New Republic to call the book “expertly edited and annotated” without apparently checking the editing or annotation, or the


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