Some of these essays in contemporary literature previously appeared in several of the avant-garde little magazines -- Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, Hudson Review and this collection, therefore, is addressed to that intellectual level. The author's concern is with that segment of modern prose and poetry which stands in need of the greatest elucidation -- the methods of Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis; and he includes what serves as marginalia on Eliot and the current status of Whitman. The state of literature in the colleges -- its being taught as a species of history -- comes in for a sound trouncing in the essay ""Subways to Parnassus"", and the general lack of receptive readers, even if to be expected, is deplored. The essays are each devoted to lighting those shadows which obscure and often render the writers' craft meaningless. The volume is a handbook, with multitudinous quotation, for those with more than a speaking acquaintance with the moderns.