Books: Pleasant Company

THE REPUBLIC OF LETTERS (260 pp.)—Louis Kronenberger—Knopf ($3.75).

The U.S. has never had so many working literary critics as now, never so few who seem to enjoy what they read. One result is that they are themselves seldom read except by colleagues and students. Most readers are apt to conclude that the highbrow critics dig too much and dig up too little. At worst, they suggest that literature is so serious a business that it is a mistake to look to it for pleasure.

But pleasure is precisely what Man of Letters Louis Kronenberger (The...

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