Books: Graves & Scholars

THE CROWNING PRIVILEGE (311 pp.)—Robert Graves—Doubleday ($5).

Ask a top prizefighter who his toughest opponents were, and he generally mentions a couple of obscure tankers. His peers he dismisses with an evasive shrug. The same weakness can apply to poets. At 60, Robert Graves has come to be recognized as one of the best English poets alive. In this collection of essays and lectures, he faintly praises some minor contemporaries, roundly damns the champs. Some dismissals:

WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS: "Yeats's father once confided to my father: 'Willie has found a very profitable little bypath in...

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