Books: Humanities' Playboy

AUTOBIOGRAPHY WITH LETTERS—William Lyon Phelps—Oxford University Press ($3.75).

Billy Phelps is the most popular professor Yale ever had. A curricular revolutionist, he started (44 years ago) the first college course in the modern novel. A superb showman, he made world headlines when he invited Gene Tunney, who had just cut Dempsey to ribbons, to lecture Yale students on Shakespeare. [An optimist, he finds Schopenhauer "a charming companion."] Friend of Galsworthy, Conrad, Henry James, Shaw, Santayana, Henry Ford, he is a "hero-worshipper" who once told Joseph Conrad he loved him; a critic who called the swing of Eddie Guest's poetry "perfect," Joyce,...

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