Richard Howard has been writing stylish, deeply informed commentary on modern culture and literature for more than four decades. Here is a selection of his finest essays, including some never before published in book form, on a splendid range of subjects--from American poets like Emily Dickinson and Marianne Moore to French artists such as Rodin and Michel Delacroix. Also included are considerations of modern sculpture and of the photography of the human body. Howard's intense familiarity with modern poetry is seen to excellent effect in essays on the "poetry of forgetting," on the causes and effects of experimental poetry, and on the first books of poets whose work he helped introduce--among them, J. D. McClatchy, Frank Bidart, and Cynthia MacDonald. Of course, Howard brings to his consideration of French literature a rare wisdom drawn from his celebrated work as a translator of Stendhal and Gide, Barthes and Cocteau, Yourcenar and Gracq.
Hilton Kramer once wrote that Richard Howard "performs the essential critical service. He shows us the extent of the terrain. He points out its essential features. And he gives us a very vivid sense of its ethos as well as of its esthetics." Howard, now in his seventy-fifth year, continues his adroit, inventive commentary, which enriches us all.