Books: Short Notices: May 19, 1961

A SEVERED HEAD, by Iris Murdoch (248 pp.; Viking; $3.95), leaves little doubt that adultery would be even more popular than it is but for the fact that it involves a more exacting set of rules than marriage itself. Oxford Philosophy Don Iris Murdoch has written a novel about adultery so complex and involuted as to suggest an anthropologist's chart of the mating patterns of a tribe at once polygamous and polyandrous. Among the wholly amoral cast of characters: Martin Lynch-Gibbon, an elegant but asthmatic London wine merchant, who is also the novel's...

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