The second volume of The Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers with the Selected Letters of Una Jeffers, Volume 2, edited by James Karman, was published by Stanford University Press in late September. At 1,102 pages, it is even longer than Volume 1 (997 pages). This new volume covers the years of a single decade, 1931 – 1939, during which Jeffers attained his greatest fame in the earlier years, which was followed by exhaustion and creative and marital crises later in the decade. Readers will find a vast store of information on Jeffers’s circle of friends and acquaintances, the development of the friendship with Mabel Dodger Luhan, the crisis in Taos of 1938 (including missing letters that shed considerable light on the affair), family interactions, Jeffers’s reluctant attempts to explain himself to his audience, and much, much more. As valuable as the texts of the letters themselves are the copious and carefully researched annotations by Jim and Paula Karman, which make the volume, like its predecessor, a kind of social history of the decade, through the Jefferses’ eyes. It may be ordered from Stanford University press at: http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?id=21350
RJA member Geneva Gano recently published an essay, “Violence on the Home Front in Robinson Jeffers’s Tamar,” in the interdisciplinary anthology Phantom Past, Indigenous Presence. The anthology, published by the University of Nebraska Press, is available online.
RJA members will be interested in the Nature Dreaming radio programming, an off-shoot of Terry Beer’s excellent California Legacy Project.
Long-time RJA’ers will remember Terry’s important early work on Jeffers, and will be impressed with his California Legacy Project. They will also recognize other Jeffers scholars, namely ShaunAnne Tangney and Kevin Hearle, on the program.
As the the publicity for Nature Dreaming on the California Legacy Project says: Listeners will find Nature Dreaming: Rediscovering California’s Landscapes with David Mas Masumoto both entertaining and enlightening. Two one-hour programs draw on dramatic readings of California landscape writing and commentary by prominent humanities scholars. Featured is award-winning writer and Central Valley farmer David Mas Masumoto, whose books include Heirlooms, Letters to the Valley, Four Seasons in Five Senses, Harvest Son, Epitaph for a Peach, and Wisdom of the Last Farmer.
Nature Dreaming focuses on California stories that are grounded in local experience, sensitive to the delicate ecological balance of the planet, suspicious of abstraction, and celebratory of the relationships between human beings and their environment. Listeners will appreciate these main features:
- * Dramatic readings from some of the best writers on California’s natural world, among them John Muir, Mary Austin, Robinson Jeffers, Jack London, and Mark Twain
* Interviews with leading scholars on Californian natural history writing
* Lively readings by David Mas Masumoto
* Sound-rich production with ambient sound, special effects, and music by Bernhard Drax
* A content-rich website that links to video of Nature Dreaming actors and commentators, the working scripts for both segments, and a list of literary sources for the production.
Richly textured sound will lead listeners to ponder their own relationship to the natural world, to recover, at least in part, the enduring pastoral dream of a California Eden.
Nature Dreaming is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and is a production of the California Legacy Project at Santa Clara University.
The two one-hour Nature Dreaming programs were originally broadcast on public radio on California’s central coast (Monterey area) but you can listen to them on-line: http://californialegacy.org/radio_productions/Nature_Dreaming/index.html
Just go to the box that says “playing: Nature Dreaming” and click on the play arrow. The shows, one hour each, will play in order.