Books: To the Dark Tower

BYRON IN ITALY — Peter Quennell —Viking ($3.59).

One morning in 1816 an Englishman with a godlike face and a deformed foot registered at a Belgian inn, and, '"as soon as he reached his room . . . fell like a thunderbolt upon the chambermaid." It was George Gordon Lord Byron, "for whom foreign travel had a psychological significance which his traveling compan ions could not long ignore." His com panions: Dr. John ("Polly dolly") Polidori; his "querulous" valet, Fletcher; his sparring partner. Next afternoon they all set off for Switzerland via the...

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