Books: Quoters of Precedents

FATHERS TO SONS edited by Alan Valentine. 237 pages. University of Oklahoma. $4.95.

It is the destiny of growing sons, as Baudelaire pointed out, to suffer stoically if not gladly those "quoters of precedents," their fathers. In later life they are free to roast the old man in novels—and frequently do. Fathers, on the other hand, have the advantage of letters. They may not noticeably influence their sons, but instruction is not the prime purpose of a father-to-son letter: its real business is to justify a father to himself—and sometimes to his society—in...

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