This is a of ultra-clever essays, presumably from a set of professors, the possible successors of the Tates, Ransoms, Blackmurs. Being the inheritors of the New Criticism, they both glory in it and, at times, guard against it- especially those tarnished terms ambiguity, complexity, archetypal. For them, as the editors needlessly explain, their task is the direct confrontation with the style and sensibility of the author through a close and clear-headed response to the particular language, the ""total expression"". Briefly, there's the symbolic landscape of Wordsworth and Yeats, Frost's dramatic tones and naturalistic meter, the ""humanization"" of Pope, a sharp hurrah for Augustan categorizing, Swift's neoclassical upset, the masks of Miss Austen, some down-to-earth grapplings with Twain and Parkman and a few rarefied intricacies: Milton's ""role of the narrator as interpreter to the fallen reader of the unfallen world"" and Stevens as ""poet taking on the persona"" of reader of reality while taking to a character who's also a reader. Occasionally far-out, generally incisive, deft, expert. For a very special and sophisticated audience.