Books: Soiled Priest

FREDERICK ROLFE: BARON CORVO by MIRIAM J.BENKOVITZ 332 pages. Putnam. $10.95.

"You call me mad, rash, incorrigible, proud, irreconcilable, deluded and all the rest," Frederick William Rolfe once wrote to a critic. "But you must allow me to lead my life upon that higher and uncrowded plane where supernatural influences work unchecked . .. Have you not realized yet that it is not an ordinary, but an extraordinary man with whom you have to deal?"

Extraterrestrial was more like it.

Apart from Hadrian the Seventh, a bitingly satirical novel about a destitute writer who...

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