A response to Joshua Eyler’s question letter B:
“B. What does this poem have to say about the many different facets of nostalgia?”
It’s significant that Miniver Cheevy is called by the speaker in this poem a “child of scorn” (1). The first stanza provides a possible reason in that Cheevy “assailed the seasons,” seasons here coming with all kinds of possible interpretations: years, weather, habits, the general hard necessities that whittle at the body and the mind (including drink). Is there a relationship between the tendency to be nostalgic and the idea of scorn? In Robinson’s poem, scorn is self-directed. Is Cheevy disdainful of himself, thus wishing he’d been born a “Medici”?
Great point! I think there is always something a bit self-scorning about nostalgia, in that we long for a past that can never be recovered (or, in fact, never was to begin with). I think you are right that Cheevy’s disdain comes from and yet facilitates his nostalgia.