Books: Boys Will Be Boys

THE YELLOW BOOK: A SELECTION (372 pp.) Compiled by Norman Denny—Viking ($3.75).

The Yellow Book was a queer literary blossom of the not-so-Naughty Nineties. Stuffy contemporaries thought it a stinkweed, but today it seems more like a pressed rose—flat and sere. A British quarterly launched by Critic Henry Harland and Draftsman Aubrey Beardsley, it ran from 1894 to 1897, published the trial flights of half a dozen future soarers.

By and for rebellious young intellectuals, it was the resolute opposite of Victorianism. Against Mrs. Grundy's boned corset it set the languid flow of...

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