Books: The Late George Aptly

GEORGE S. KAUFMAN: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT by HOWARD TEICHMANN 371 pages. Atheneum. $10.

The large-caliber wisecrack, like the horse pistol, is part of America's past. As the Norman Mailer-Germaine Greer exchange indicated recently, the snub-nosed innuendo aimed below the belt is today's favored weapon. When quips were quips even a President of the United States could get them off. Remember the British diplomat who told Lincoln that "English gentlemen never black their own boots"? Lincoln looked up from buffing his own and replied, "Whose boots do you black?"

The humor of George S. Kaufman...

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