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What’s your dust worth?

Steven Shapin: Corpses

14 April 2011
After We Die: The Life and Times of the Human Cadaver 
by Norman Cantor.
Georgetown, 372 pp., £18.75, December 2010, 978 1 58901 695 8
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... dissolution have become opaque. The two sorts of quasi-person – the corpse and the foetus – are increasingly thought of in different ways. If you do want to know what happens to dead bodies, NormanCantor’s After We Die offers a compact description. Within minutes, the pallor of death develops, as the blood drains from the surface capillaries and subsides deeper in the body. A few hours after ...
21 August 1997
God’s Gift to Women 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, May 1997, 9780571177622
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... for women to cope with. Male Scottish writers didn’t bother much with this sort of thing. With a muse in tow, or by themselves, they kinged it in smoky pubs. Hard to imagine the sly and brilliant Norman MacCaig whingeing on about his masculinity. Now, however, earlier feminist explorations are being rediscovered in the late stories of Margaret Oliphant and the novels of Willa Muir and Catherine ...

Occupation: Novelist

Christopher Beha: Peter Matthiessen

30 July 2014
In Paradise 
by Peter Matthiessen.
Oneworld, 246 pp., £12.99, April 2014, 978 1 78074 555 8
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... They bear a familial resemblance to Dangling Man and The Victim (the novels Saul Bellow wrote before the urban immigrant outpouring of Augie March) and to Barbary Shore and The Deer Park (the novels Norman Mailer wrote between his initial success with the more conventional war novel The Naked and the Dead and his emergence as a hipster prophet). Like Bellow and Mailer, Matthiessen eventually escaped ...

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