Books: Epic Maker

SEAMARKS (363 pp.)—St.-John Perse —Pantheon ($6).

One day in 1925, French Premier Aristide Briand faced his brilliant Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs and asked him, flat out, if there was any truth to the rumor that he was a poet on the side. Replied Marie Rene Auguste Alexis Saint-Leger Leger imperturbably: "It is an imposture." In a sense it was, for nothing could be more different from the sleight-of-hand diplomacy which Leger practiced at the Quai d'Orsay than the sweeping, exotic poems appearing over the pseudonym St.-John Perse (after one of Leger's favorite ancient authors,...

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