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And Our Critics Commend

June 01, 1986

The Collected Letters of Dylan Thomas, edited by Paul Ferris (Macmillan). "Ferris, in this outstanding work of discovery, annotation and interpretation, has reconfirmed that if Thomas was the wild man, he was indeed the serious and extraordinarily gifted poet, one of the best of our time" (Charles Champlin).

Selected Essays of R.P. Blackmur, edited and with an introduction by Denis Donoghue (Ecco). "Blackmur eschews all fixed formulas for the appreciation of poems and novels. He thereby exemplifies, for criticism, a recognizably American breed of intelligence that is restless, excursionist, self-revising" (Benjamin Taylor).

Melanie Klein: Her World and Her Work, Phyllis Grosskurth (Knopf). "(Phyllis) Grosskurth's biography of a creative woman (a specialist in treating children) who was obviously hampered by her lack of grounding in research is a rich historical source that can perhaps help psychoanalysis to remember rather than to relive its past" (Helen Block Lewis).

Berlin Wild, Elly Welt (Viking), is "about a survivor, not simply of the horror of Nazi Germany, but of an extraordinary anti-world within that horror." Though portions of the book don't mesh, " 'Berlin Wild' is the product of inspiration and of a good deal of struggle" (Richard Eder).

Johnny's Song: Poetry of a Vietnam Veteran, Steve Mason (Bantam). "I expected a flashback-collection of war stories. I found instead an insightful and timely collection dealing with the post-service domestic conflicts of veterans. Mason's work is peace poetry for today, without polemics" (Michael Casey).

Expensive Habits, Maureen Howard (Summit) is about a famous American writer who avoids a medical death sentence by a successful bypass operation, only to be "faked out by death" later. The prose is "dense, complex, disturbing, authoritative" (Nora Johnson).

The Woman Who Escaped From Shame, Toby Olson (Random House). An action-adventure story that "weaves its way through complexities of mythology, the enigmas of women . . . and a strange family secret . . . . (Toby) Olson has a gift for intertwining good old American love of clear-cut right and wrong with a darker, less certain vision" (Holly Prado).

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