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Briefly noted: the season's highlights from scholarly publishers; Boris Pasternak: His Life and Art, by Guy de Mallac. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press. 450 pp. $24.95.

This excellent book on the Russian poet certainly proves that critical literary biography, at its best, can be an art form, a creation of permanence and value. Divided into two parts, the book focuses first on Pasternak's life and then presents a critical examination of his historical, social, religious, artistic, and philosophical views. Augmented by fascinating illustrations, the text gives a comprehensive, absorbing, and intelligent portrait.