Summer 1966 • Vol. XXVIII No. 3 Book Reviews |

Shivery Games

Trials Of The Word: Essays in American Literature and the Humanistic Tradition by R. W. B. Lewis. Yale University Press, $6.50. These essays prove Mr. Lewis a more saintly perambulator of literature than one had perhaps suspected. Excepting the major, concluding essay, all are invitational—prefaces for the book trade, papers for chairmen of meetings. Here is the busy academician, good enough to be invited everywhere, and to have enough on his mind to produce on demand. That The Picaresque Saint should now confess to Trials of the Word may seem too pat, too much the clever shepherding of lost sundries. But not so. The sundries do eventually come into the fold, as the book draws to its very impressive close, drawn by Lewis' hankering for "the fertile tug-of-war between the transcendent and the concrete. . .testing the energy of the Word within the word." Mr. Lewis is a close reader, one who "holds hard to the huckleberry bushes to hinder himself from being translated" into heave

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