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Having exhumed the private life of Helen of Troy, Professor John Erskine now proceeds to lay bare to the sophisticates the story of Galahad or, as he subjoins, "enough of his life to explain his reputation". There are rumors that exposes of Cleopatra and other famous and lovely ladies of antiquity will follow. Mr. Erskine has struck a rich vein and his investigations are receiving popular acclaim. If he stops this side of sensationalism, and, from the nature of his own literary character one has the right to assume that he will, he will have provided a new and amusing genre, building modern fables on ancient foundations.

The fact that "Helen" was a best seller of last season and that "Galahad" promises to be even more widely read is but another evidence of the growing curiosity concerning the red lives of the dead of the past. At times this curiosity descends into muckraking and morbidity--as in the case of the "unveiling" of George Washington. In the best examples, however, the verities have not been entirely ignored, but only clothed with more appealing garments. In its lighter moods biography is being softened into fiction. The purely didactic branch still flourishes and will continue to do so as long as there are great men to provide fitting subjects. But the public is learning that a nonfiction book is not necessarily dull one; and that the most fascinatin heroes are not always confined to novels.

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