LYING, DESPAIR, JEALOUSY, ENVY, SEX, SUICIDE, DRUGS, AND THE GOOD LIFE
by LESLIE H. FARBER
232 pages. Basic Books. $10.
That quintessential 19th century optimist W.E. Henleywho can ever forget or forgive him?wrote the unflappable lines that still seem to embroider a motto on his age: "I am the master of my fate;/ I am the captain of my soul." The world, it appeared in those innocent times, belonged to the romantic individualist with a whim of iron. Even pessimists like Schopenhauer and Nietzsche celebrated the indomitable will. Not to mention Horatio Alger Jr.