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This collection of essays probes the values in a variety of authors who have had in common the fact of popularity and erstwhile reputation. Why were they esteemed? Who esteemed them? And what has become of their reputations, to readers, to the critic himself? No writer here has been asked to justify the work of his subject, and reports and conclusions about this wide variety of creative writers vary, sometimes emphasizing what the critic believes to be enduring qualities in the subject, in several cases finding limitations in what that writer has to offer us today.