Books: No Other Book

Randall Jarrell

Most critics run on gas and sass. Jarrell, the poet, novelist, children's book author--what didn't he do, and do beautifully?--was a tireless lover of language. He fell in love (and in hate) with the poem or book under review, bringing it alive even as he anatomized it. These essays, selected by Brad Leithauser, open the reader to the Morgan Library of Jarrell's mind, ablaze with a sensible passion and aphoristic wit. "The people who live in a Golden Age," he wrote, "usually go around complaining how yellow everything looks." When Jarrell died in 1965, criticism suddenly looked a lot less yellow....

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