A reader's delight by Noel Perrin

By Noel Perrin

Certainly one of America's most interesting essayists writes approximately forty literary masterpieces which were wrongfully forgotten or have been overlooked within the first position.

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They use them all year round for clubhouses. Page 23 The heart of the piece is the story that old Harry Lyons tells, sitting on his barge one February afternoon. He's not telling it to Mitchell but to a man his own age named Townsend, the brother-in-law of another Edgewater man who has brought him by to show him what a shad barge is like. The story is about the shad fishing that old Harry is still doing, very vigorous fishing, using pole nets twelve hundred feet long, sometimes catching a thousand shad in one haul.

There are books here by Americans, by Englishmen and women, by an Italian diplomat and a Dutch resistance fighter (who both wrote in English), by a pair of Russian brothers, by a Japanese monk. There are sixteen novels, five memoirs, four books of short stories and four of essays, a diary, a volume of letters written to an English knight, a book of animal stories, a science fiction novella, a book of fables. I think they are all wonderful. The collectionstill unconscious of itself thengot its start almost thirty years ago, back in 1960.

The Best of All Imaginary Islands 177 36. A C. S. Lewis Miscellany 182 37. A Girl, a Horseand for Once a Good Book 186 38. A Genius Grew in Brooklyn 190 39. Huck Finn's French Counterpart 194 40. Tanya Must Die 199 Epilogue: A Note on Availability 205 Page vii Prologue: Forgotten Books, Remembered Books Honored Books, Orphaned Books Since William Caxton published the first book in English in 1475, some five or ten million English-language works have appeared. Of these a few thousand are recognized classics, ranging from The Canterbury Tales, published by Caxton himself in 1478, up to, say, the complete poetry of Robert Frost, published in a definitive edition in 1969.

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