Books: A Kingdom of Cobras

THE OLD MAN AND ME by Elaine Dundy. 255 pages. Dutton. $4.50.

For Henry James, an American girl abroad was a dovelike creature, all too easily undone by the serpentine charms of Old World society. Not everybody can accept James's lingering stereotype nowadays. But no one more volubly refutes it than pixyish, thirtyish Elaine Dundy, a Long Islander of a different feather entirely. She fluttered into London via a year in Paris in 1950, soon nested high in the cultural Establishment as the wife of Drama Critic Ken neth Tynan, and has since chronicled...

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