The famous dialogues, in which Gide defends homosexuality to the point of making it a civic virtue, now appearing in English for the first time. The original 1911 edition was limited to about twenty copies; some 25 years later an open edition reached 33,000. Today, the sly, ambiguous, fallacious handling of the subject seems to the modern reader out of date. Innumerable sounder treatments, from Proust to Kinsey, have let light and air in on this not too agreeable topic. The literary taboo is off; the contents of this book can no longer astound the general reading public. As for the argument itself, it is ably dissected in this edition by an eminent biologist from Yale in an appendix to the text. The dialogues are cast in the Socratic form, and despite a somewhat slipshod translation, the writer's wit, obliquity, and lack of candor come through. A literary oddity for a predictable minority, for doctors, biologists, psychologists; forbidden fruit for the prurient, and adolescent. And for most of the reading public, a tedious bore.