Books: The Ego & I

THE LATER EGO (625 pp.) James Agate — Crown ($4).

In the spring of 1947, London Drama Critic James Agate found himself in a familiar condition: up to his neck in work, up to his ears in debt. The British revenue office sent him a "curt communication saying that unless I find £940 within a week everything in my flat except the bed I lie on will be taken away."

Agate shrugged and made note of it in Ego—the compendious, perennial diary which would enable him, he hoped, "to take my place beside Pepys." "Something has always turned up," he told Ego, "and...