Wallace Stevens remarks in The Necessary Angel that modern verse narrative would require "a terrible genius." Robinson Jeffers, whose narratives and verse dramas form the bulk of his verse output, may be said to have fulfilled this injunction. Taken as a whole, Jeffers's narratives engage the Modernist predicament, responding to the crisis of depicting individual subjectivity and personality, and therefore of the authority of narrative itself. His strategies were various, from an attempt to recuperate classical tragedy and its even deeper sources in Western mythology to the deployment of a panoply of Modernist devices: fragmentation, temporal displacement, doppelgangers and other personae, authorial interventions. Together with his remarkable evocation of the natural sublime, his narratives are, as a whole, a body of work distinctive in modern literature.


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pp. 26-44
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