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I’m hip. I live in New York

Theo Tait: Leonard Michaels, 3 March 2016

Sylvia 
by Leonard Michaels.
Daunt Books, 131 pp., £9.99, June 2015, 978 1 907970 55 9
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... is ‘a book that has never finished saying what it has to say’. I have read Sylvia by Leonard Michaels four or five times and I still don’t feel that I’ve got to the bottom of it. First published in 1992, it is a novel disguised as a memoir, or a memoir disguised as a novel, based on the author’s first marriage, to Sylvia Bloch ...

English Changing

Frank Kermode, 7 February 1980

The State of the Language 
edited by Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks.
California, 609 pp., £14.95, January 1980, 0 520 03763 4
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... That language changes, and that we cannot prevent it from doing so, is a fact known to all, though some of us can no more contemplate it with resignation than we can death and taxes. It is two thousand years since Horace noted that good old words die, and that new ones must, on the right occasion and with proper modesty, be introduced. Yet even modest and necessary neologisms displease the modern humanist, and he is likely to be equally severe on what he regards as the abuse of old words ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer, 25 January 1990

The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... in the second. The implication, perhaps, is that the 1980s were judged by the two editors, Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks, to be likely to rate correctness of language above its political and social implications, while the 1990s will reverse these priorities. There is little point in taking issue with this, since in practice such divisions ...

Poxy Doxies

Margaret Anne Doody, 14 December 1995

Slip-Shod Sibyls: Recognition, Rejection and the Woman Poet 
by Germaine Greer.
Viking, 517 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 670 84914 6
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... a new term to go with the pejorative ‘poetess’. What about a poetum, a poetino or a poetoot? Leonard Michaels has written a short story about a dogged academic who wrote a book called The Enduring Southey. Southey, in his capacity not to endure, is a male poetess, a poetoot. Precociously forced into the commercial writing world, L.E.L. was all the ...

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