Robert Frost was born in 1873, the year Thomas Hardy published Far From The Madding Crowd, and he died in 1963, the year Bob Dylan brought out Freewheelin’. In a life that spanned the better part of the 20th century, Frost experienced the emergence of modern America. His poetry–with its focus on the small New England village and the family farm, and its exquisitely preserved memory of life before widespread mechanization and the rise of mass media–is often read as a protest, even retreat, from that modernity. But Frost struck a balance between “coming to market,” as he put it, and being “almost wastefully alone”; between standing radically apart and turning oneself into a merchantable persona. Reading his poems, as well as selections from his letters, criticism and biography, we will trace out the painstaking creation of this persona, its fruition in some of the greatest poems in the English language, while puzzling through the complex relationship between artistic and commercial triumph. This course will also seek to engage the wider Bennington community through a collaboration with the Robert Frost Stone House Museum.