I am pleased that such a small piece has evoked some distinguished attention. I must reply to all, or to none.

I am most grateful for Richard Wilbur’s warm, solidly gracious account, with whose considerations I am much in agreement, not the least with those on the place of the academic community, of which I am now and again a member. I have often defended the university as being as much a part of the “real” world as any other, once concluding: “Fashionably considered, the university is not a part of going ‘life’ at all . . . but I find it impossible to exclude at least from tentative reality any place where so many people are.”[1] Since the narrator in “The long, shining table” was visiting universities, I took as implicit the importance of the university’s function to writers. While I do find that function...


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