Books: Leslie Fiedler's Monster Party

FREAKS by Leslie Fiedler; Simon & Schuster; 367pages; $12.95

A Peter De Vries character once described a literary intellectual as the sort who put his audience into a bathysphere and took them down three feet. He could not have met Leslie Fiedler, who, along with Norman Mailer, is one of the most daring skinny-dippers in U.S. literary and social criticism. Throughout a long career that includes some brilliant fiction (Nude Croquet, 1969), Fiedler has boldly led his readers down whirlpools of the national subconscious. In Love and Death in the American Novel (1960), he...

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