Books: Unexpurgated

Published letters and diaries, even if scandalous, create scandal for only a few years. Burned (like Byron's letters to his sister, Richard Burton's diaries), they scandalize a writer's name for good. Expurgated (like Pepys's diaries, Horace Walpole's letters), they start gossip which endures as long as the suppressed letters and diaries remain locked in bank vaults. After 50, 100, 150 years their outmoded revelations seem singularly innocent.

A good case in point is the recently published, unexpurgated, eight-volume edition of The Greville Memoirs: 1814-1860, edited by Lytton Strachey & Roger Fulford (Macmillan, $80)....

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