Books: Seer v. Slob

THE WRECKAGE OF AGATHON by John Gardner. 243 pages. Harper & Row. $6.95.

Dying in a Spartan jail in the year 500-and-something B.C., the hero of this sharp and provoking little antihistorical novel finds no difficulty in giving verbatim quotations from the Dryden translation (17th century A.D.) of Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus (2nd century A.D.). It is true that he is a certified Seer of Apollo, and the future drifts before his eyes as effortlessly as the past or the present. So the reader need not be really surprised to find Lycurgus (spelled Ly-kourgos,...

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