Books: A Poet to the Swedes

THE SELECTED WRITINGS OF SALVATORE QUASIMODO (269 pp.)—Edited and translated by Allen Mandelbaum—Farrar, Straus & Cudahy ($5).

When Italian Poet Salvatore Quasimodo learned last October that he had won the Nobel Prize for literature, friends report that "he paled and fell into shocked silence." Given Quasimodo's widely unheralded poetic output, it was a natural reaction. In the U.S., where only a few academic specialists knew more than a handful of his poems, the news caused acute embarrassment to cocktail-party literati, who were too stunned to improvise knowledgeable chatter. In Sweden the respected newspaper Aftenbladet criticized the Swedish Academy for...

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