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May 16, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

WITH CHARITY TOWARD NONE: A Fond Look at Misanthropy by Florence King (St. Martin's Press: $9.95; 194 pp.). Fans of Florence King's delectable brand of vitriol will delight in these essays devoted to the singular pleasure of loathing humanity. King's wit and erudition separate her japes at human foibles from the facile snottiness of P. J. O'Rourke and other baby-boom cheap-shot artists: She compares Richard Nixon to Alceste in Moliere's "The Misanthrope," and refuses to enroll James Gould Cozzens in her personal pantheon of misanthropes, dismissing the author of "By Love Possessed" as "a mean drunk at the country club." King gleefully demolishes the current spate of touchy-feely books and TV talk shows without stooping to the yahoo vulgarity of shock radio DJ's.

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