Poetry. Reference. History. Memoir. THE MATTER OF EUROPE is a highly unusual reference book. Formally, it is broken down into "sketches" and includes long and fascinating lists as well as Sebastian's impressions of various writers and thinkers. According to the introduction, the book "may be extended in any number of directions. The extent and number of these directions depend on the vantage point of the person making a reference." "My experience in reading it was akin to that of sitting in an oculist's studio while lens after lens was placed before my eyes, each offering an ever-closer perspective on those spectacles of wonder, from the time before time to yesterday's turn of a millennium. What an encyclopedic imagination!"-Lindsay Clarke. Barker is the editor of The London Magazine, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was chairman of the Poetry Society from 1988 to 1992.