The indefatigable Colin Wilson is once again playing his trade, that of a dashing, shoplifter in our literary department stores. His latest, a book of criticism, offers something for everybody from practically everyone at all levels: there's the de rigueur bit about the modern imagination which is neither Homeric, Shakespearian nor Romantic, but rather a realm of the too-intensely personal: we don't tell stories anymore, we ""say something""; thus Joyce and Proust are about as ""readable as a telephone directory"", while Sartre, Camus, Backett, Bobbe-Grillet, the inactive neurotics Gide and Huxley, and the raw realists Zola or West all get Wilsonian drubbings. Further, Yeats, Wilde and Strindberg developed irrational attitudes based on rejection; science fiction concerns itself with problems of identity, so practitioners Aldiss and Blish are as good as Kafka and Frisch; visionaries generally have potty sex, like Lawrence and Wedekind; total pessimism ends in meaninglessness: not only the strength to will dies, but also the strength to dream; therefore the idea of ""static observer"" must be destroyed and the existential absolutes of freedom, evolution and religion achieved. In addition Shavian optimism can and should be renewed, and to scoop us all, Kazantzakis gets rated the greatest artist since Tolstoy. As usual, Mr. Wilson is always entertaining, and unexacting. For bargain hunters looking for intellectual ""seconds"".