In response to:
A Master from the October 20, 1966 issue
To the Editors:
It was good to see in your recent columns Richard Harrier’s tribute to the Quarterly Review of Literature, along with his delicate suggestion that there were omissions in D. S. Carne-Ross’s review of the New Directions Selected Poems of Eugenio Montale [Oct. 20].
Mr. Carne-Ross lays about him confidently, and appears confidently to suggest that the English-speaking countries were unaware of Montale between the Praz translation in Criterion (1928) and the publication of Edwin Morgan’s volume in 1959. He perhaps forgets that before the War closed off literary communications between Italy and these countries for a period of years, the published poetry of Montale had barely reached its second volume—namely, the 1939 Le Occasioni. But he forgets or is unaware of other hints that Montale was not unknown. To mention a few: translations of two poems by Samuel Putnam and S. B. Beckett in the April-May, 1930 issue of This Quarter; a critical summary in the Times Literary Supplement of June 21, 1934; an article of mine with two accompanying translations in the Saturday Review of Literature, July 18, 1936; a biographical and critical entry in the Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature, 1947. No great shakes, these things? Perhaps; but surely hints and beckonings to the great shakers.
January 12, 1967