Books: A Love Affair with Learning

RANDALL JARRELL'S LETTERS edited by Mary Jarrell Houghton Mifflin; 560 pages; $29.95

Randall Jarrell never received the attention given his flamboyantly talented and troubled friends. Robert Lowell's struggles with manic-depression and mental institutions found their way into his later, confessional poetry. John Berryman's alcoholism was legendary while he lived, and his suicide made headlines. In contrast, Jarrell refused to exercise his poetic licenses. He did not drink or philander; his first marriage ended in an amicable divorce after twelve years, and his second lasted until his death in 1965.

He spent most of his adult life on college campuses, teaching and...

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