The New Women and the Old Men

byRuth Brandon.Norton, $19.95. Ms. Brandon points out that the women who at the turn of the century demanded freedom and sexual equality usually settled for much less, even from men who professed support of those demands. She backs her case with studies of a number of such ostensibly progressive couples, most of whom seem to have been so dedicated to high thinking that mere human companionship was beyond—or should one say below—their capacity. “Sex might be acknowledged to be beautiful and poetic and it was without doubt essential and unavoidable. But the one thing nobody said was that it might be fun.” Ms. Brandon derives quite a bit of quietly ironic fun from that situation.