John Lennard

John Lennard But I Digress: The Exploitation of Parentheses in English Printed Verse appeared in 1992. He is a fellow in English at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

The Redeemed Vicarage

John Lennard, 12 May 1994

There was little to suggest, twenty-odd years ago, that Superintendent Andrew Dalziel and Sergeant Peter Pascoe would develop as they have, except Reginald Hill’s unusual and wise decision never to write consecutive novels about them. Their debut in A Clubbable Woman (1970) came eight years after Julian Symons had first pronounced the ‘detective story’ dead; as late as 1989 T.J. Binyon, in Murder Will Out, though finding them ‘an impressive, interesting team’, gave them only two sentences under the heading ‘Provincial Policemen’. One might as well say that Laurel and Hardy were provincial comics.


Shop Talk

27 January 1994

I am grateful to Arthur Johnston and Edward Wilson (Letters, 24 February) for denying Sir-Robert-now-Lord Armstrong the credit that Professor Nash and I wrongly gave him for coining the phrase ‘economical with the truth’: and I am sorry to have missed the latter’s letter to the Times and the replies it provoked. It is salutary to be reminded that the forms of veracious economy include both plagiarism...

Shop Talk

John Lennard, 27 January 1994

The reviewers’ quotes which, fifteen years I ago, Macmillan chose for the reprint of Kenneth Hudson’s The Jargon of the Professions were a moral lot. Auberon Waugh, writing for what should now be called Books and Bookpersons, declared that ‘Mr Hudson writes with the elegance, precision and wit of a Fowler … a delight to read and a mine of useful instruction’, while Peter Clayton, in the sterner fashion befitting the Sunday Telegraph, thought that ‘it’s not often you get a hook so worthy of purpose, so forthright, so amusing and yet so balanced.’ The reviewer for the Scotsman, traditionally anonymous, was given pride of place: ‘If we all listened to Hudson,’ he said, ‘we would think and write a little better. Some of us might even say what we meant, and be understood.’ What a happy day that would be, here and in Laputa, but if Hudson’s book is still in print it is not readily to be found, at least in Heffers, and the volume of peevish complaint about the proliferation of jargon and the multilateral economies in the area of SALT (the Strategic Acronym Limitation Talks) has shown no tendency to downturn. If anything, it has shown more clearly than ever an applied nimbyfication: I am exact; you have rather a fondness for using several long words when one poor monosyllable would do adequately; and he (sic) networks technobabble.…

High Punctuation

Christopher Ricks, 14 May 1992

Fecund and jocund, well-earned and learnèd, wittily wily, But I digress is a delight and a treasure-house, alive with moving illumination and with benign warning, in short a delight-house of...

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