THE NATURAL HISTORY OF NONSENSE (275 pp.)Bergen EvansKnopf ($3).
Sir Thomas Browne called them "vulgar errors." Said Francis Bacon: "Men rest not in false apprehensions without absurd and inconsequent deductions." As Essayist Logan Pearsall Smith put it, even the most lucid brains harbor "nests of woolly caterpillars."
In this book, vigorous, witty Bergen Evans, youthful professor of English at Northwestern University, swoops down on many of the world's best-beloved caterpillars' nests. His aim is, of course, to exterminate them. Sample "vulgar errors": >Thunder sours milk (the sultry weather is really responsible).
>Hairiness is a sign of manliness (modern scientists believe that baldness is...