cover image Encounters


Kai T. Erikson. Yale University Press, $50 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-300-04662-5

Writing for the Yale Review , 18 accomplished men and women--three Britons and 15 Americans--vividly recall experiences with an equal number of notable figures. John Hollander remembers W. H. Auden; Bayard Rustin works with A. Philip Randolph. Mary Lee Settle is astonished and repelled by Somerset Maugham; Quentin Bell is disappointed by that ``amiable philistine'' Henri Matisse; Paul Horgan is captivated by that ``sly conjuror'' Mary Garden; Francine du Plessix Gray is bullied by Charles Olson (``the Big O'') at Black Mountain College and grows as a result. Each essay forms a combined portrait of the narrator and his or her remembered subject; the profiles, most written many years after the exchanges occurred, are illuminated by a back-lit wisdom. Readers will hope for a sequel to this volume. (Sept.)