Books: New England Questions

A MASQUE OF REASON—Robert Frost -Holt ($2).

Shortly after completing this 23-page verse-play, yo-year-old Robert Frost came down with pneumonia, lay wondering if God were punishing him for having written it. Happily—and justly—he recovered. A poet whose work has often been implicit drama, Frost is outright dramatist in A Masque of Reason—and still the New England philosopher asking questions about the nature of things.

They are embarrassing questions, and one of the dramatic values is the embarrassment of God, of whom the questions are asked. Job, the afflicted, who asks the questions, is embarrassed, too. Only his wife is not: she is too...