Books: Misery in Eden

THE ARISTOS by John Fowles. 246 pages. Little, Brown. $5.

In British Author John Fowles's brilliant first novel, The Collector, one of the most cunning evil characters of modern fiction utterly vanquishes the good. As if to make amends, Fowles has now written a philosophical work whose theme is the aristos, Greek for the excellent in life. Good novelists seldom make good philosophers, or vice versa; but Fowles is obviously at home in both fields.

Fowles's acknowledged mentor is the 6th century B.C. Greek thinker Heraclitus, whose extant work consists only of brief fragments...

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