Books: Pariah and Prophet

ZOLA AND HIS TIME—Matthew Josephson—Macaulay ($5).

There was an evening in Paris in the '70s when the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, went backstage at the Varietes. He was led through a gloomy cavern of stained canvas, ropes, flaring lamps. The air was pungent, draughty, filled with the cloying scent of women doused with violent perfumes. The blond prince entered the dressing room of the leading lady, a famed courtesan. She greeted him with coy, voluptuous respect, in tantalizing deshabille. The little dressing room was filled...

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