Three books now in paperback

------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Betrayed, by Amalie Skram, translated by Aileen Hennes. New York and London: Pandora Press/Methuen. 131 pp. $7.95. (Cloth: $22.50.) A contemporary of Ibsen, the Norwegian writer Amalie Skram (1846-1905) was married at 17 to a sea captain. For 13 years, until the breakup of their marriage, she accompanied him on his voyages. ``Betrayed'' (1892) draws heavily on her experience of this difficult relationship. It is a tersely written novel about the trials of a naive young woman married to an older man - a sea captain - whose physical presence she is unable to tolerate. The relentless, claustrophobic drama of this ill-starred pairing may remind some readers of Strindberg's ``Dance of Death'' (1901). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787-1814, by Geoffrey H. Hartman. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press. 418 pp. $12.50.

Originally published in 1964, reissued in 1971 with a ``retrospect'' by its author, Geoffrey Hartman's study of Wordsworth's poetry was instrumental in revitalizing interest in the great Romantic too often dismissed as a rather simple ``Nature poet.'' Focusing on Wordsworth's ``consciousness of consciousness,'' Hartman's book illuminates the complexity and depth of the poet's endeavor, restoring a sense of beauty and strangeness to verse that in many ears had come to sound a little too familiar. Hartman's subtle insights are communicated in a finely wrought style that - if not exactly simple - is nonetheless engaging. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- At Seventy: A Journal, by May Sarton. New York and London: Norton. 334 pp. with photographs. $7.95.

Even those who are not devotees of May Sarton's poetry will find much to enjoy in this journal of the year following the poet's 70th birthday in May 1982. Sarton's acute observations show the eye, ear, and indeed, the soul, of a poet. Whether she is contemplating the change of seasons in her rural Maine home or meditating upon the human costs of Reaganomics, Sarton displays compassion, sensitivity, and sound common sense. During this year, she leads a busy life but still manages to indulge in such typically ``Sartonian'' ruminations as recalling how the ill wind of Belgium's tragic fate in 1914 had the small but good effect of bringing this Belgian-born poet to America.

Merle Rubin is a free-lance book reviewer.

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