Skip to Content
Search Icon
Issue 13 – Christ the King 2022

Arts and Letters

Dying in Doubt

On Robert Lowell.


Robert Lowell
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pp. 387, $40

When Robert Lowell published Life Studies in 1959, it marked a shift in his work. His previous volume, Lord Weary’s Castle, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1947 and was praised for its verbal tension and symbolism. “The poems understand the world as a sort of conflict of opposites,” Randall Jarrell wrote in his review of the volume. But the critic Austin Warren understood its true subject: Robert Lowell himself. “The book,” Warren wrote, may aim “at a mythological structure,” but “Lowell starts with the natural and proper desire to find the meaning of his own life in terms of his heredity and cultural environment.” In Life Studies, he would put not only the lives of his ancestors but also his own life under the microscope of poetry. 

You must or subscribe to read the rest of the article.

About the author

Micah Mattix