Michael Hofmann

Robert Lowell struggled all his life to elude his rarefied Boston heritage

He abandoned Harvard, converted to Catholicism, married twice, became a conscientious objector and – not least – devoted himself to poetry

The infant Robert Lowell with his father, the put- upon naval commander who struggled to ‘teach himself manhood’. Credit Alamy

Already a subscriber? Log in

This article is for subscribers only

Subscribe and get your first month of access for free. After that it’s just £10.99 a month.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.

  • Unlimited access to our website and app
  • Enjoy Spectator newsletters and podcasts
  • Explore our online archive, going back to 1828


A blooming good offer

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers by getting the next 3 months for £3.

Already a subscriber? Log in