Books: Vile Bodies Revisited

AS IF BY MAGIC by ANGUS WILSON 415 pages. Viking. $8.95.

Angus Wilson seemed to begin where Evelyn Waugh and Aldous Hux ley left off. It was as if he had been born a middle-aged comedian, clever but desolate. For him there was no initial period when a young satirist simply func tions: a predatory animal savagely but happily on the hunt.

What does a very funny writer do whose laughter is always choking into a retch? Among other stratagems, Wilson has tried to revive the well-made Victorian novel (see The Middle Age of Mrs. Eliot). He has sketched portraits of...

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