Books: Overtaken Pioneer

THE COLLECTED NOVELS OF CONRAD AIKEN. 575 pages. Holt, Rinehart & Winston. $7.95.

Consider the case of Conrad Aiken. His credentials as a man of letters are impeccable—40-odd volumes of prose and poetry, a tour of duty as consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress, a slew of literary prizes (Pulitzer, Bollingen, the gold medal for poetry of the National Institute of Arts and Letters). He has been a fixture on the literary scene as long as any living American poet. But Aiken, now 74, wryly acknowledges that he is "a dubious horse...

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