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Swinging it

Mark Ford

7 July 1988
S.J. Perelman: A Life 
by Dorothy Herrmann.
Simon and Schuster, 337 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 671 65460 8
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Don’t tread on me: The Selected Letters of S.J. Perelman 
edited by Prudence Crowther.
Viking, 372 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 670 81759 7
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... of the most careful writers who ever lived’. His own reverence for words shines through all of his pieces, and many of his letters too. In the introduction to her selection from his correspondence, PrudenceCrowther relates how he once spent a whole day writing a postcard. There is something specially satisfying about a writer whose effects are so hard-earned, whose comic persona is so deliberately ...

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