Books: Gaul in Graveclothes

MODERN FRENCH SHORT STORIES (182 pp.)—Edited by John Lehmann—New Directions ($3).

Editor Lehmann believes that these 14 stories (which first appeared in his British little-magazine New Writing) prove "the dominating richness and vitality of French literature among the literatures of Europe." But U.S. readers are likely to feel that most of the richness is stylistic sheen, and the vitality only skin-deep.

In Letter to a Hostage, Airman Antoine de St. Exupery (missing in action, 1944) feels "so weary of controversy, of the opinionated, of fanaticism" that only one small ray of comfort remains in...

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