James Stephens, the late great Irish fabulist, essayist and poet, in these heretofore unpublished writings, mostly transcriptions of long-out-of-earshot BBC talks, proves a prime delicacy, a rare delight. As editor Lloyd Frankenberg says: ""Talk was the soul of the man; speech-rhythms were the open secret of his crackling style"". And on these pages, whether he's concocting a savory, a fable, tossing offhand bouquets or barbs at the Dublin great, including Joyce, Yeats, Shaw, Synge and Moore, reciting or commenting on his own verse (""You go into a poem rather soberly; if you don't come out of it drunk 'tis no poem""); chatting of animals, landscapes, books, beauty and friends, or judging Blake, Coleridge and Donne- at all these times everything is magically modulated, exquisitely toned; even his critical inconsistencies, his personal contrariness have a candor, a closeness-of-the-heart touching the true teno of Irish talent and temperament, hell-bent for whimsy and/or wisdom. In short, he's a charmer. Indeed, if there were any more charm in James, Scumas and' Jacques, the book would soon have to be exercised.