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Wet Socks

John Bayley, 10 March 1994

The Complete Short Stories of Jack London 
edited by Elrae Labour, Robert Litz and I. Milo Shepard.
Stanford, 2557 pp., £110, November 1993, 0 8047 2058 4
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... The high noon of imperial expansion towards the end of the 19th century produced an archetypal tale. Kipling’s version of it is ‘The Man Who Would Be King’, which like all Kipling’s early tales made a great impression on Jack London. His own version, ‘An Odyssey of the North’, concerns an Aleutian Indian whose betrothed is stolen from him by a Norwegian seal poacher, a giant with a golden mane and the blood of the Vikings, much the same as the hero of Kipling’s story, and also of Rider Haggard’s romances ...

Chicory and Daisies

Stephanie Burt: William Carlos Williams, 7 March 2002

Collected Poems: Volume I 
by William Carlos Williams, edited by A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan.
Carcanet, 579 pp., £12.95, December 2000, 1 85754 522 2
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Collected Poems: Volume II 
by William Carlos Williams, edited by A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan.
Carcanet, 553 pp., £12.95, December 2000, 1 85754 523 0
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... sorts of American writers: the young Allen Ginsberg paid him homage and copied his style, while Robert Lowell, for example, looked to Williams for a freer, more democratic manner than his rivals could offer. Though he remains an acquired taste in Britain, Williams’s position in American poetry, at least, seems assured. That position rests, above all ...
... be located at intervals on the line stretching between these two not wholly imaginary points, with Robert Lowell appearing now at one end, then at the other. An ill effect of this rough-and-ready schematism is that it has helped to impel writers into excogitated gimmickry, the one-finger étude, the all-thumbs concrete poem, the four-letter ejaculation, and ...

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