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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Twilight Approaches

David A. Bell: Salon Life in France, 11 May 2006

The Age of Conversation 
by Benedetta Craveri, translated by Teresa Waugh.
NYRB, 488 pp., £17.99, October 2005, 1 59017 141 1
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... the style of Mills and Boon. A noble home is ‘illuminated by a thousand candles, shimmering with crystal and silver, and teeming with the full flower of the French nobility’. Mlle d’Epernon had ‘a tender, chaste love’ for the Chevalier de Fiesque, while ‘no one had a happier youth than Mlle de Bourbon.’ Noblemen are generally ...

‘His eyes were literally on fire’

David Trotter: Fu Manchu, 5 March 2015

The Yellow Peril: Dr Fu Manchu & the Rise of Chinaphobia 
by Christopher Frayling.
Thames and Hudson, 360 pp., £24.95, October 2014, 978 0 500 25207 9
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... Dickens and Richard Horne wrote a piece for Household Words that contrasted the wonders of the Crystal Palace with the quaintness of an accompanying display of artefacts from China at a gallery in Hyde Park Place. ‘It is very curious,’ Dickens and Horne noted, ‘to have the Exhibition of a people who came to a dead stop, Heaven knows how many hundreds ...

Convenience Killing

John Sutherland, 7 April 1994

What’s Wrong with America 
by Scott Bradfield.
Picador, 196 pp., £14.99, January 1994, 0 330 32249 4
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The History of Luminous Motion 
by Scott Bradfield.
Picador, 196 pp., £5.99, January 1994, 0 330 33412 3
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Greetings from Earth 
by Scott Bradfield.
Picador, 296 pp., £5.99, January 1994, 0 330 32252 4
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... of liquid protein, wheat germ, vitamin B complex and B12 and three heaped tablespoons of blue crystal Drano.’ Daniel dies making gurgling noises like bad plumbing; rather appropriate in the circumstances. And so Dolores goes on, slashing the throat of a loved one with a kitchen knife, shooting the man who eventually marries her and burying him in the ...

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