Books: Mediterranean Triptych

Most tourists believe in love at first site. Hurrying and scurrying about, they rarely stop to court an insight. Three unhurried tourists currently grace the book counters with travel accounts that are wise, witty and uncommonly well-written. Laving their individual sensibilities in the "implacable light" of the Mediterranean littoral, these writers perceive and share the region's Antaeus-like grip on life for life's sake.

ATHENIAN ADVENTURE, by C. P. (for Clarence Pendleton) Lee (274 pp.; Knopf; $4), shuns the bearded ancient Greeks for the mustached moderns. A onetime professor of English at the University...

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