Books: Lackluster Life

ADVERSARY IN THE HOUSE (432 pp.) —Irving Stone — Doubleday ($3).

Lust for Life, an excitable biography of Painter Vincent Van Gogh which sold enormously on both sides of the Atlantic, launched Irving Stone on a career of pseudo-biography in 1934. In succeeding biographies (notably in his stories of Jack London and General Fremont's wife), Stone has been more & more bent on improving the stories of his subjects by embroidering on their lives, by reporting conversations that were never spoken or at least not overheard, and by writing in a kind of jerky, fictional journalese. Any good historian must be...

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