Ostensibly a long narrative poem, this work does not so much tell a story as it reveals a brilliant literary style. This astonishingly original poem by a noted translator of Vergil, Dante, and Ovid transcends the conventions it purports to extend. Joyfully erudite, its multilingual and punning nature invites comparison with Finnegans Wake ; hauntingly obsessive vocabulary binds the various parts into a whole. Mandelbaum understands literature better than most writers today, and his poem reverberates with references to Pascal, Leopardi, and Heidegger in its frequent meditations on the infinite. For its metric coherency, internal rhythms and, above all, kaleidoscopic language, this is nothing short of a tour de force. Ivan Arguelles, Univ. of California, Berkeley, Lib.