Winter 1939 • Vol. I No. 1 Book ReviewsJanuary 1, 1939 |

Twenty-Five Directions

NEW DIRECTIONS 1938. Edited by James Laughlin IV. New Directions. $2.50 Finding twenty-five or thirty new directions a year is a task that might strain any literary compass, even so agile an instrument as that which Mr. Laughlin boxes upon the all-but-charted seas. For a third voyage the skipper-editor does his geographical duty, and there are signs that it is becoming grim. So one may take his confession in the preface: "There is work in the book which I myself don’t like, but it is printed because it is obviously authentic experiment." I do not believe that this makes out the best case for Mr. Laughlin’s services to contemporary letters, which are genuine. Very little of the writing here is experimental, for most of it follows an established convention, even though that may be a comparatively recent and unpopular one. Yet among the contributors are a half-dozen new or newish writers of talent who are not sufficiently read and advertised, and whose work is indicative of t

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