Books: Make-Believe

Make-Believe Alexander Pope must have been wrong, poor chap. The proper study of mankind is not man, but—in current fiction, at any rate—his phallus. Novelists are exploring ever more intimately, not to say enviously, the wondrous achievements of recognized bedroom supermen. In fact, everyone—heroes, authors, readers—seems to be getting rather exhausted. Perhaps that is why so many novels this season deal with sex in its most mechanized and dehumanized form. The dildo is the feature; everybody, apparently, uses an artificial penis, or else needs one badly.

Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge (TIME, Feb. 16) depicts a transvestite who...

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