Books: Richardson's Richard

THE YOUNG COSIMA—Henry Handel Richardson—Norton ($2.50).

A musical novel called Maurice Guest opened (pianissimo) Henry Handel Richardson's career in 1908. Richardson's next book, The Getting of Wisdom (1910), struck a chord that made listeners sit up: how did this man get to know so many intimacies of life in an Australian girls' college? When, in 1929, the same author's Ultima Thule packed them in to standing room, the audience insisted on the virtuoso's taking a bow. To their surprise, the bow turned out to be a curtsy.

Henry's real name was Henrietta (Handel thrown in for musical effect). Born into a family of...

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