5 PENS IN HAND (360 pp.)Robert GravesDoubleday ($4.50).
Gnaeus Robertulus Gravesa . . . was born in a suburban villa at the tenth milestone from Londinium, when L. Salisburi-us was sole Consul, in the year following the death of A. Tennisonianus Laureatus, whom the deified Victoria raised to patrician rank. It is handed down that the infant [wore] a beastlike scowl, which already gave assurance of ... a mute and cynical habit of mind.
From Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus' Lives of the Britannic Poets. Translation by W. Wadlington Postchaise.
In this spoof of Roman historians and...