A Selective List
Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” are presented in a new edition with an introduction by Vincent Starrett and, as congruous illustrations, photogravures of original aquatints by William Sharp [Heritage Press $3.75]. Eleven “Stories of Writers and Artists” by Henry James have been edited with an introduction by F. 0. Matthiessen [New Directions $3.50]. Another evidence of revived interest in James is to be found in the ten stories, edited by Philip Rahv under the title of “The Great Short Novels of Henry James” [Dial $4]. “The Portable Hemingway,” with an introduction by Malcolm Cowley, contains selections from all of Hemingway’s novels, a choice group of short stories, and the Epilogue from “Death in the Afternoon” [Viking $2]. Other-worldly fiction by Mrs. Oliphant, Walter de la Mare, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Arthur Machen, Mary Johnston, and Robert Nathan makes an interesting assortment in “Six Novels of the Supernatural,” a Viking Portable book edited by Edward Wagenknecht [$2.50]. The illustrations by John Steuart Curry fit “The Red Badge of Courage” exactly. A beautiful edition of Crane’s best work [Heritage Press $3.75]. Paul Klee illustrates “Candide” as “a thing on the threshold between substantiality and nothingness.” The 26 pen-and-ink drawings approach nihilism, but are interesting both as Klee’s work and as his interpretation of Voltaire’s tale [Pantheon $9.50]. Arthur Rackham’s last work before his death was the illustration of “The Wind in the Willows.” The 16 water colors and the 15 pen-and-ink drawings catch the spirit of Kenneth Grahame’s masterpiece [Heritage Press $3.50]. “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” with 160 illustrations by Gustave Dore is attractively printed and bound [Pantheon $3.75]. The fact that there has been no complete edition of Grimm’s “Fairy Tales” for some time makes this one with 212 illustrations in color and in black-and-white by Joseph Scharl especially welcome. There is an introduction by Padraic Colum and a “Folkloristic
Commentary” by Joseph Campbell [Pantheon $7.50].
A new translation of Homer’s “Iliad”—
the first complete rendering of the epic line for line in English dactylic hexameters, successful in meter but not in spirit —has been published with the added at traction of John Flaxman’s 39 engraving*’ as illustrations [Macmillan $8.75], The Heritage Press’s striking edition of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is given extra interest by the inclusion of 32 of William Blake’s hitherto unpublished drawings illustrating all three books. The English translation by Melville Best Anderson keeps the terza rima of the original with some slight but unavoidable awkwardness of phrasing [$5], W. H. Auden prefaces his own selection of Tennyson’s “Poems” with a sharply clever introduction epigrammatizing the lyric poet’s personal and poetic weaknesses [Doubleday, Doran $3]. Poems from all four of Herman Melville’s published volumes and several from his manuscripts are included in “Selected Poems,” in which the editor, F. O. Matthiesson, has tried “to take advantage of all the various interests attaching to any part of Melville’s work.” [New Directions 50 cents and $1].
The five extant Journals kept by Washington Irving on his trip West from Cincinnati in 1832 have been edited by John Francis McDermott and are now published in a completely annotated form, accompanied by a map, contemporary illustrations, and a bibliography [Oklahoma $3.50]. A number of previously suppressed passages have been added to a new edition of Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi,” for which Thomas Hart Benton has done 44 illustrations, some in color and some in black-and-white [Heritage Press $5]. The Modern Library has added to its list an “Anthology of American Negro Literature.” This includes, short stories, essays, biographies, and— most interesting of all—autobiographies, but no poetry [95 cents].