Books: Beautiful and Be Damned


by ISHBEL ROSS 349 pages. Harper & Row. $8.95.

"The splendour of her breasts," wrote an early biographer, "made madmen everywhere." He might also have mentioned her energy, ambition, courage, cunning, charm, wit and wardrobe. It took all those things, and plenty of gall besides, to turn Eliza Gilbert into Lola Montez, famous dancer, mistress of Franz Liszt and Alexandre Dumas père, intimate of kings and prime ministers, de facto ruler of Bavaria during Ludwig I's declining years, and belle of the California gold rush.

Who was Lola? Rumor had it (probably from Lola's own lips) that she was the daughter...

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