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Mizzled

Roy Harris, 21 February 1985

Longman Dictionary of the English Language 
by Randolph Quirk.
Longman, 1875 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 582 55511 6
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The Private Lives of English Words 
by Louis Heller, Alexander Humez and Malcah Dror.
Routledge, 333 pp., £12.95, May 1984, 0 7102 0006 4
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The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words 
by Bill Bryson.
Viking, 173 pp., £7.95, April 1984, 0 7139 1653 2
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The Origins of English Words: A Discursive Dictionary of Indo-European Roots 
by Joseph Shipley.
Johns Hopkins, 637 pp., $39.95, May 1984, 0 8018 3004 4
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A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English 
by Eric Partidge and Paul Beale.
Routledge, 1400 pp., £45, May 1984, 0 7100 9820 0
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... collaborator does not, however, treat the great man’s views as gospel. In his Introduction Paul Beale points out that, coming from New Zealand, Partridge sometimes made the mistake of thinking that certain words and phrases were specific to Australia and New Zealand when in fact they had a wider currency in the English-speaking world. He does not ...

Was Plato too fat?

Rosemary Hill: The Stuff of Life, 10 October 2019

Fat: A Cultural History of the Stuff of Life 
by Christopher Forth.
Reaktion, 352 pp., £25, March 2019, 978 1 78914 062 0
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... to their deserts, whether these be good or bad’. The resurrection of the body, derived from St Paul, is still part of Catholic doctrine, though it has always posed problems. Will the resurrected bear the marks of whatever illness or injury killed them? What about widows who remarried? Will some people be older than their parents? There were always ...

Blue Suede Studies

Hugh Barnes, 19 December 1985

Elvis and Me 
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Sandra Harman.
Century, 320 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1131 2
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Are you lonesome tonight? 
by Alan Bleasdale.
Faber, 95 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 571 13732 6
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Elvis and Gladys 
by Elaine Dundy.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 9780297782100
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The Johnny Cash Discography 
by John Smith.
Greenwood, 203 pp., £29.95, May 1985, 0 313 24654 8
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Horse’s Neck 
by Pete Townshend.
Faber, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1985, 9780571138739
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Like Punk Never Happened 
by Dave Rimmer.
Faber, 191 pp., £4.95, October 1985, 0 571 13739 3
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Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans 
by Fred Vermorel and Judy Vermorel.
Comet, 253 pp., £4.95, August 1985, 0 86379 004 6
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The Beatles 
by Hunter Davies.
Cape, 498 pp., £12.95, December 1985, 0 224 02837 5
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... Lubbock, Texas. Dundy maps out Elvis’s nocturnal wanderings, away from the family home, down to Beale or Union Street, which were covens of the Blues. Her explanation of Elvis’s attachment to Jesse, the twin who died at birth, is also ingenious; as is her account of how swiftly the studios incorporated it into myth. The first line of the soundtrack on the ...

Uncle Vester’s Nephew

Graham Coster, 27 February 1992

Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession 
by Greil Marcus.
Viking, 256 pp., £17.99, February 1992, 0 670 83846 2
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Rythm Oil: A Journey through the Music of the American South 
by Stanley Booth.
Cape, 254 pp., £16.99, October 1991, 0 224 02779 4
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... this book I cannot explain,’ he wisely concedes.) But he has come up with a nice idea. Just as Paul Fussell set himself, in The Great War and Modern Memory, to map the mythicisation of the First World War in the popular conscience – the images and icons we remember it by, and how these are themselves symptomatic of the selective desires, prejudices and ...

The Last Witness

Colm Tóibín: The career of James Baldwin, 20 September 2001

... his fictional characters in Giovanni’s Room, Tell Me how Long the Train’s Been Gone (1968), If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), Just above My Head (1979) and some of the stories in Going to Meet the Man (1964) seem paler, less urgent and less complex. In spite of this, Giovanni’s Room remains a powerful book because of the simplicity of its drama and the ...

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