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Only God speaks Kamassian

Walter Nash, 7 January 1988

The World’s Major Languages 
edited by Bernard Comrie.
Croom Helm, 1025 pp., £50, March 1988, 9780709932437
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Studies in Lexicography 
edited by Robert Burchfield.
Oxford, 200 pp., £27.50, April 1988, 0 19 811945 3
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Van Winkle’s Return: Change in American English 1966-1986 
by Kenneth Wilson.
University Press of New England, 193 pp., £7.95, August 1988, 0 87451 394 4
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Words at Work: Lectures on Textual Structure 
by Randolph Quirk.
Longman, 137 pp., £5.75, March 1988, 9780582001206
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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language 
by David Crystal.
Cambridge, 472 pp., £25, November 1988, 0 521 26438 3
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... the lexicographer and informed by the general linguist, whose global concerns are represented by David Crystal in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. ‘My purpose in writing this book,’ says Professor Crystal in his preface, ‘is to celebrate the existence of human language, and to provide a tribute to those ...

The Englishness of English

Roy Harris, 6 November 1980

Studies in English Linguistics for Randolph Quirk 
edited by Sidney Greenbaum and Jan Svartvik.
Longman, 304 pp., £18, September 1980, 0 582 55079 3
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... Geoffrey Leech, Jennifer Coates, F.R. Palmer, R.A. Close, John Sinclair, Jan Firbas, Nils Enkvist, David Crystal, Jan Svartvik, Wolf-Dietrich Bald, Nelson Francis, Morton Bloomfield, E.L. Epstein, John Lyons, Archibald Hill, James Sledd, R.I. McDavid Jr, R.K. O’Cain, Linda Barnes, Josef Vachck and Barbara Strang. So varied as well as distinguished a ...

How good is it?

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Inside the KJB, 3 February 2011

The Holy Bible: King James Version, 1611 Text 
edited by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 1552 pp., £50, October 2010, 978 0 19 955760 8
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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 
by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 354 pp., £16.99, October 2010, 978 0 19 955759 2
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The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today 
by David Norton.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 521 61688 1
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The King James Bible after 400 Years: Literary, Linguistic and Cultural Influences 
edited by Hannibal Hamlin and Norman Jones.
Cambridge, 364 pp., £25, December 2010, 978 0 521 76827 6
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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language 
by David Crystal.
Oxford, 327 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 958585 4
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... shout their presence (the radically different visual effect of the original is illustrated in David Norton’s The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today, as well as in Campbell’s own Bible, another history of the KJB). It’s a pity, but the change emphasises just how remote the modern ‘King James’ Bible is from its original. It ...

Why Goldwyn Wore Jodhpurs

David Thomson, 22 June 2000

The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper 
by Dominick Dunne.
Crown, 218 pp., £17.99, October 1999, 0 609 60388 4
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Gary Cooper Off Camera: A Daughter Remembers 
by Maria Cooper Janis.
Abrams, 176 pp., £22, November 1999, 0 8109 4130 9
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... and he had to sell off his belongings, he spared little. He sold the furniture, the porcelain, the crystal, the silver, the linen, the books, the monogrammed Turnbull & Asser shirts, even the ashtrays he’d swiped from Claridge’s. He sold the cutlery that Natalie Wood once used as a mirror for checking her make-up. But he saved the scrapbooks. Dunne is now ...

Radio Fun

Philip Purser, 27 June 1991

A Social History of British Broadcasting. Vol. I: 1922-29, Serving the Nation 
by Paddy Scannell and David Cardiff.
Blackwell, 441 pp., £30, April 1991, 0 631 17543 1
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The Collected Essays of Asa Briggs. Vol. III: Serious Pursuits, Communication and Education 
Harvester Wheatsheaf, 470 pp., £30, May 1991, 0 7450 0536 5Show More
The British Press and Broadcasting since 1945 
by Colin Seymour-Ure.
Blackwell, 269 pp., £29.95, May 1991, 9780631164432
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... first half of their first volume of A Social History of British Broadcasting Paddy Scannell and David Cardiff seem scarcely to try. As they tread the well-worn path through the BBC’s approaches – first as a company, then as a corporation – to politics and international affairs and the General Strike and the Abdication crisis and all the other familiar ...

Go, Modernity

Hal Foster: Norman Foster, 22 June 2006

Catalogue: Foster and Partners 
edited by David Jenkins.
Prestel, 316 pp., £22.99, July 2005, 3 7913 3298 8
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Norman Foster: Works 2 
edited by David Jenkins.
Prestel, 548 pp., £60, January 2006, 3 7913 3017 9
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... In the background of these projects one often senses the crown jewel of industrial structures, the Crystal Palace (names like Great Glasshouse and Great Court point to this precedent too). With its efficient construction in industrial iron and glass, its bold reformulation of architecture through engineering, its technological rationalism and social ...

You bet your life

Margaret Walters, 21 April 1988

Oscar and Lucinda 
by Peter Carey.
Faber, 512 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 571 14812 3
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The Fifth Child 
by Doris Lessing.
Cape, 131 pp., £9.95, April 1988, 0 224 02553 8
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Eight Months on Ghazzah Street 
by Hilary Mantel.
Viking, 299 pp., £11.95, April 1988, 0 670 82117 9
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... who will not be the narrator’s great-grandmother. The church itself is airily beautiful, a ‘crystal-pure bat-winged structure’, the product of years of dreaming. It’s also a folly, quite unsuited to the climate, already battered and twisted and cracked. And it’s heavy: made of ‘thirty hundredweight of cast-iron rods, five hundred and sixty-two ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Alexander Hamilton’s Worst Idea, 24 October 2019

... I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The president has been crystal clear: no quid pro quos of any kind. The president is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign. I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.’ Sondland ...

Something to look at

David Sylvester, 10 March 1994

... a centimetre’s span a baboon or a frog or a duck or a boar’s head (cat. 18) and a jar in rock crystal 9 cm high (cat. 17). They are pieces which exemplify the genius of Mediterranean art of that period for working hard, highly polished materials. And this is very relevant to the series of figures which dominate the Egyptian section. They are ...

Pillors of Fier

Frank Kermode: Anthony Burgess, 11 July 2002

Nothing like the Sun: reissue 
by Anthony Burgess.
Allison and Busby, 234 pp., £7.99, January 2002, 0 7490 0512 2
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... another example of ‘to fire out’ meaning what it is here taken to mean, and I notice that David and Ben Crystal, in their new glossary Shakespeare’s Words,* do not admit the venereal sense, giving only ‘to drive away by fire’. The poet is not even sure the parties have slept together, and could only have been ...

Systemite Pop

Tabitha Lasley: The Children of God, 23 September 2021

Rebel: The Extraordinary Story of a Childhood in the ‘Children of God’ Cult 
by Faith Morgan.
Hodder, 368 pp., £16.99, June, 978 1 5293 4759 3
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... her adult life trying to evade. The Children of God was founded in America in 1968 by a man called David Berg. Former members include River and Joaquim Phoenix, Rose McGowan and the writer Lauren Hough, who described Berg as a ‘failed Pentecostal preacher and wildly successful alcoholic’. Ostensibly a Christian movement, it had its roots in the ...

The Macaulay of the Welfare State

David Cannadine, 6 June 1985

The BBC: The First 50 Years 
by Asa Briggs.
Oxford, 439 pp., £17.50, May 1985, 0 19 212971 6
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The Collected Essays of Asa Briggs. Vol. I: Words, Numbers, Places, People 
Harvester, 245 pp., £30, March 1985, 0 7108 0094 0Show More
The Collected Essays of Asa Briggs. Vol. II: Images, Problems, Standpoints, Forecasts 
Harvester, 324 pp., £30, March 1985, 0 7108 0510 1Show More
The 19th Century: The Contradictions of Progress 
edited by Asa Briggs.
Thames and Hudson, 239 pp., £18, April 1985, 0 500 04013 3
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... Victorian People and Victorian Cities; picture books, like The Power of Steam and Ironbridge to Crystal Palace; bestsellers, like A Social History of England; and multi-volume blockbusters, like The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom. While lesser historians fiddle over footnotes, Briggs dashes off reviews; while they ruminate over reviews, he ...

Climbing

David Craig, 5 September 1985

... perceptions, often of tiny things (a pellet of fur and bone hawked up by a peregrine, stuck to a crystal; rust weeping from the stub of a piton hammered in by the first person to tread this way thirty years before), and with self-images. On a climb that frightens me my self feels to myself like an overheated cave; doubts of my adequacy flicker and dart like ...

Time, Gentlemen, Please

David Cannadine, 19 July 1984

The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918 
by Stephen Kern.
Weidenfeld, 372 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 297 78341 6
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Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World 
by David Landes.
Harvard, 482 pp., £17, January 1984, 0 674 76800 0
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... In a characteristically versatile display of cultural, technological and economic history, David Landes looks at the evolution of the clock as a machine, and at the triumph of public time as a discipline. And in an exceptionally wide-ranging foray into intellectual history, Stephen Kern explores the ways in which private notions of time (and ...

Lemon and Pink

David Trotter: The Sorrows of Young Ford, 1 June 2000

Return to Yesterday 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Bill Hutchings.
Carcanet, 330 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 397 1
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War Prose 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Max Saunders.
Carcanet, 276 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 396 3
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... of Carlyle, of Mr Ruskin, of Mr Holman Hunt, of Mr Browning, or of the gentleman who built the Crystal Palace.’ Life was not worth living because he knew, and everyone else knew, that he did not have it in him to build the next Crystal Palace. His response to this impossible demand was to develop an ‘almost ...

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