Books: Angry Man's Romance

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Kenneth Roberts has a legendary temper, on which he practices great self-control. But self-control in his case is said to be a brief, turkey-red moment between the rush of blood to his face and an outburst that begins (in milder cases) with goddam, ends (several minutes later) in total verbal annihilation. Fellow authors like Booth Tarkington, Ben Ames Williams, Samuel Blythe have publicized these tantrums with such glee that the suspicion has grown that Roberts rages are also literary, less an adrenalin effusion than a character signature like Wotan's motif in the...

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