Books: Celibate

QUAKER MILITANT: JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER— Albert Mordell —Houghton Mifflin ($3.50).

Whittier's very name sounds to modern ears like the tremulous, piping voice of an aged Victorian. In a stout effort to deepen and dignify Poet Whittier's note Biographer Mordell writes this life of Whittier, the first in almost 30 years. Author Mordell denies that his hero was "a modest, mild and passionless saint," admits that he eventually became a "reactionary and religionist . . . harmless genial poet of the people," but reminds the reader that Whittier was also a "mil itant and...

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