William Empson (1906—1984) was the author of Seven Types of Ambiguity and Some Versions of Pastoral. His Complete Poems were recently published. (June 2001)


Sartre Resartus

No Exit and The Flies

Jean-Paul Sartre, translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert
The American poet and critic Randall Jarrell worked as acting literary editor of The Nation from the spring of 1946 to the spring of 1947. One of the several eminent writers from whom Jarrell solicited book reviews was the English poet and critic William Empson, author of Seven Types of …

‘There Is No Penance Due to Innocence’

John Donne: Life, Mind and Art

by John Carey
This long, hammering book amounts to saying that no one need bother any more about Donne, because the admiration for his love poems was based on a delusion. The love poems are brief but very various and quite large in number, and they are much his best work; for most …

Compacted Doctrines

Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society

by Raymond Williams
The book is continually interesting; never more so, from my point of view, than when it is plainly wrong; but it is usually right, I could not deny. More than 100 familiar words, usually with some derivatives and opposites thrown in, are examined for a few pages each, so that …

The Voice of the Underdog

A Rhetoric of Irony

by Wayne C. Booth
This is a good book. It quotes a number of long examples, arguing from them in detail “how we manage to share ironies and why we often do not,” with mild discouragement for current follies on the subject; and the literary judgments (as apart from philosophical or historical ones) seem …

Yeats and the Spirits

Yeats, the Tarot and the Golden Dawn

by Kathleen Raine

W.B. Yeats: Memoirs, Autobiography (First Draft) and Journal

edited by Denis Donoghue
A selection from the picture cards of the Tarot pack, especially the pictures on Yeats’s own pack, compared to versions designed by his intimates, with quotations about symbols from Yeats and others which seem to derive from the cards (apparently, no direct discussion of them was encouraged in Yeats’s circle)—the …