Books: Horatio Faustus

SEX AND SOCIETY IN SHAKESPEARE'S AGE: SIMON FORMAN THE ASTROLOGER

by A.L. ROWSE

315 pages. Scribners. $12.50.

Scholars know Simon Forman as the man who attended—and made notes on —four of Shakespeare's plays performed during the dramatist's lifetime. Historian A.L. Rowse, 72, knows Forman as something more: an extravagant conflation of Horatio Alger and Doctor Faustus whose claim to fame lies buried in a "vast mass" of barely decipherable manuscripts. Having burrowed through this trove of papers, Rowse now announces that Forman "has exposed himself as no one has done, not even Pepys or...

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