also dramatized. Fascism, however, isnnever confronted, or even examined, innany broad, aggressive manner. “Mentioned”nwould more accurately describenits treatment. Perhaps this aspect of thennovel only seems timid because ofntoday’s literary climate in which almostnevery writer claims to be making a grandnpolitical expose. The numerous contemporarynauthors who dwell on Hitiernand Mussolini are becoming irksome:nwhere are courageous novelists who arenwilling to confront the totalitarianismnthat threatens us today?nX he Head ofAlvise, the first novel ofncontroversial film director Lina Wertmiillern(of Seven Beauties and ThenSeduction of Mimi fame), is anothernsort of novel altogether. This account ofnthe rogue Sammy Silverman’s crusadengainst perfection in the person ofAlvise,na Nobel Prize winner and accomplishednsurgeon, diplomat, poet, and husband, isnvulgar, crude, tasteless, over-punctuatedn—and hilarious. The dust jacket, whichnmakes the book sound like Moty Dickn(“hate confronting love, evil confrontingngood, death confixjnting life”) does thenauthor a disservice. For The Head ofnAlvise is 100 hundred percent fun andnfantasy, and ferfetched fantasy at that.nThe novel’s chief attribute is that it seesnits first purpose as entertainment. Sadly,na reader must turn to a film director tonbring to fiction what is now found onlynin other media: action, dialogue, suspense.nWcrtmuller’s characters arc vivid,nher adjectives sharp, her similes pointed.nIn a tale based loosely on the Salomenstory, Jewish boys Sammy and Alvise escapenfrom Treblinka, zoom across Europe,nand are adopted by nice &milies innthe United States. Sammy has Alvise’snperfect judgment, good will, and clevernessnto thank for his survival, but thenhomely and incompetent youth coversnhis trail and proceeds to forget aboutnAlvise, whose many attributes only highlightnSammy’s deficiencies of characternand talent. Forty years later, after Sammynhas established himself as the successful,nwealthy author of trashy mystery thriUersn(he writes one a month), he comesnupon Alvise, who under a pseudonymnhas bested Sammy once more with hisnbook Man Could Be Beautiful The volumenwas awarded the Nobel Prize fornLiterature and sold a million copies.nDeflated again by his old companion,nSammy sets out to find the flaws beneathnhis rival’s perfect demeanor, and, forngood measure, to steal his vwfe. Failing atnthose pursuits, he accepts Alvise’s naturenas genuine and proceeds to plot murder.n”I know what kind of hate—pure hate—nperfection inspires,” he declares.nThroughout this wonderfuUy madcapnadventure, Wertmiiller makes us examinenthe makeup of human character,nwhat we value in it, and why. And so,nwhen she concludes her novel with thenclassic Hollywood ending—^good triumphingnover evU—3. reader acceptsnthe outcome with mixed emotions.nL he editors of Extended Outlooksnclaim that this collection of mostlynpoetry is based on “RESPECT FOR DIF­nFERENCE,” by which they mean that itnencompasses “academic women, Blacknand Third World women, lesbian women,npolitically committed women …” Innother words, aU of the contributors arenliberal Democrats. Surprisingly, it is notnas bad as a reader has every reason tonfear. Take away the inevitable sex andnrevolution poetry, and there is still quitena bit left. Included in this volume arenworks by Maxine Kumin, Margaret Atwood,nMaxine Hong Kingston, MargenIn the MailnPiercy, and Adrienne Rich, but, as isnoften the case with anthologies, bothnthe very best and the very worst contributionsnare made by unknowns.nCertainly there is too much revisionismnand ideology in the authors’ treatmentsnof Laura Riding, Ethel Rosenberg, andnothers. And a poet named Michelle CMncannot resist asserting that “They arenkilling black/children in Atlanta,” xniiichnonly proves that some poets either donnot care about the fects or do not knownthem. They? In the biographical sketchesnsupplied by each author, Grace Paleynfelt the need to describe herself as ann”enemy of the government’s war onnpoor countries, poor people, people ofndeep color, and aU women” when a simplendate of birth would have sufiiced.nNevertheless, most of the contributorsnshow every sign of being normal Notablenare the talents of Barbara Anderson,nBecky Birtha, Constance Carrier, JanenKenyon, Marlene Leamon, Lisel MueUer,nand Joan Swift, but there are hundreds ofnentries, many of which are well done.nStill, one hopes that in the next suchnproject, a real respect for difierence wiUnappear. After aU, black, politically activenacademic and lesbian women are notnthe ones publishers are turning awaynthese days. TTieir message blares throughnour culture, and no one is mistaking whatnit is. More interesting would be a volumenin which the politics, race, and sexualnorientation of the contributors werenunknown and the artists’ creations stoodnby themselves as works of art. DnBarbarians and Romans: The Birlfo Struggle of Europe, AD. 400-700 by Justine DavisnRanders-Pehison; Univetsity of Oklahooia Press; Norman, OK. The Barbarians wanted toncrush the Romans, right? Wrong, insists the author in a thorough and lively text—they were justnclumsy.nfreedom, Society and Ae Stale: An InvesttgaHon into Ibe Possibility of Society withoutnGovernment by David Osterfeld; University Press of America; Waddngton, DC. AnarchynrevisitednHome from Exile: An approach to Post-ExistentiaUstPhUosopbizing by Denis Hickey;nUniversity Press of America; Washington, DC. A hefty text that concludes: “The man who isncondemned to be free is also condemned to insatiability. Man the religious animal is foreverncondemned to be religious.” The reader is condemned to over 450 pages.nnniiifS5nJuly 1983n