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Nicholas Penny, 9 October 1986

Pictures and Punishment: Art and Criminal Prosecution during the Florentine Renaissance 
by Samuel Edgerton.
Cornell, 243 pp., $39.50, March 1985, 0 8014 1705 8
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Images of Man and Death 
by Philippe Ariès, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Harvard, 271 pp., £19.95, October 1985, 0 674 44410 8
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Fingerprints of the Artists: European Terra-Cotta Sculpture from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections 
by Charles Avery and Alastair Laing.
Harvard, 298 pp., £127.50, September 1981, 0 674 30203 6
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... In 1909 there appeared a small book by Montgomery Carmichael modestly entitled Francia’s Masterpiece and dedicated to reconstructing the content, purpose and original setting of a single Renaissance altarpiece. It provided what is still the best account of the treatment of the Immaculate Conception in old Italian art. Carmichael deplored the limited outlook of the scholars of his day who were uninterested in the religious nature of the art they catalogued, and expressed his outrage at their complicity in the removal of ‘church pictures’ from ‘living use over altars and shrines to the chill fastnesses of meaningless museums and art galleries’ on the pretext of danger from the candles lit before them ...
The Children’s Book of Comic Verse 
edited by Christopher Logue.
Batsford, 160 pp., £3.95, March 1980, 0 7134 1528 2
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The Children’s Book of Funny Verse 
edited by Julia Watson.
Faber, 127 pp., £3.95, September 1980, 0 571 11467 9
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Bagthorpes v. the World 
by Helen Cresswell.
Faber, 192 pp., £4.50, September 1980, 0 571 11446 6
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The Robbers 
by Nina Bawden.
Gollancz, 144 pp., £3.95, September 1980, 0 575 02695 2
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... themselves, both attractive characters who deserve something better than the hideous drawing Charles Keeping has made of them for the ...

Ink-Dot Eyes

Wyatt Mason: Jonathan Franzen, 2 August 2007

The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History 
by Jonathan Franzen.
Harper Perennial, 195 pp., £8.99, July 2007, 978 0 00 723425 7
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... was completely off the map.’ He sinks into the comforts of a less inscrutable world: that of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. The comic strip, read by millions of Americans, is the centre of Franzen’s childhood imaginative life: ‘Like most of the nation’s ten-year-olds, I had a private, intense relationship with Snoopy, the cartoon beagle. He was a ...

Make your own monster

Adrian Woolfson: In search of the secrets of biological form, 6 January 2005

Mutants: On the Form, Varieties and Errors of the Human Body 
by Armand Marie Leroi.
HarperCollins, 431 pp., £20, May 2004, 0 00 257113 7
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Jacob’s Ladder: The History of the Human Genome 
by Henry Gee.
Fourth Estate, 272 pp., £20, March 2004, 1 84115 734 1
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... a performance by ‘the most extraordinary and interesting man in miniature in the known world’. Charles Sherwood Stratton was a perfectly formed 25-inch-tall midget, who weighed only 15 pounds. It had been the idea of the Victorian freak show impresario Phineas Taylor Barnum to present him in the guise of ‘General Tom Thumb’. Before long, the ...
Mason & Dixon 
by Thomas Pynchon.
Cape, 773 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 9780224050012
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... of refrigerators. He’s blasting with warmth out back. Mason – Dixon is the story of two men, Charles Mason (1728-86) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-79). Both are drawn from history, as is the outline of their doings, and as are many of the acquaintances they happen upon en route. Mason begins the tale as an astronomer at Greenwich; Dixon as a journeyman ...

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