Spring 1949 • Vol. XI No. 2 Book ReviewsApril 1, 1949 |

The Cost of Distraction

The Collected Essays Of John Peale Bishop edited, and with an Introduction by, Edmund Wilson. Scribners. $4.50 Of A. E. Housman, John Peale Bishop wrote: "What Housman told the reader is clear. But there is much that he would not, and while he lived could not, tell him. Of the suffering we have no doubt, but something, it seems, has been suppressed that it is essential to know of the particular situation of the human sufferer." Perhaps if we replaced "suppressed" by "scattered," these words could stand as the nub of one's response to Bishop's own work. There is sufficient cause for admiration in these essays: their gentle learning, quick taste and wit; but something is greatly missed—a controlling center, a motor passion or idea, to pull them into a unity. As it is, they seem less a unity than interludes between distraction and sometimes even the occasions of distraction. Bishop seems to have been aware of his lack of intellectual center; he called one of his more ambitious es

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The Collected Essays Of John Peale Bishop edited, and with an Introduction by, Edmund Wilson. Scribners. $4.50 Of A. E. Housman, John Peale Bishop wrote: "What Housman told the reader […]

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The Collected Essays Of John Peale Bishop edited, and with an Introduction by, Edmund Wilson. Scribners. $4.50 Of A. E. Housman, John Peale Bishop wrote: "What Housman told the reader […]

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