Books: The Smitten One

THE BLACK SWAN (141 pp.)—Thomas Mann—Knopf ($2.75).

And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. —Genesis 39:7

Thomas Mann once admitted that he regarded the Biblical account of the temptation of Joseph by Potiphar's wife as too blunt and brief. This theme of a mature woman's passion for a much younger man so excited Mann that in Joseph in Egypt (third volume of his Joseph cycle), he took the dozen or so Bible verses on the subject and blew them up into a 300-page storm. What fascinated...

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