Books: Ribaldry in Rome

THE KEYS OF ST. PETER (380 pp.)—Roger Peyrefitte—Criterion Books ($4.50).

Truly scandalous books are rare these days, particularly books about religion. This novel is truly scandalous. It has already sold 500,000 copies in Italy (where it was banned) and in France. It is not the first among the nine novels by sometime French Diplomat Peyrefitte to enjoy a popular, scandalous and critical success (Diplomatic Conclusions drew indignant disclaimers from the French Foreign Office). Waspish Author Peyrefitte writes like a countryman of Rabelais and Voltaire, but in the U.S., where there is no comparable...

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