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Tummy-Talkers

Jonathan Rée: Ventriloquists, 10 May 2001

Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism 
by Steven Connor.
Oxford, 449 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 19 818433 6
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... Apart from the fancy Latinate title, there was nothing very grand about the one-legged actor Joseph Askins who toured Britain in the 1790s performing his ‘Ventriloquism, or Conversations in two Voices’. Nor was the ventriloquial act taken far up-market in the 1820s when the quick-change showman Charles Mathews began appearing as Monsieur Ventriloge ...

Seventeen Million Words

Richard Poirier, 7 November 1985

The Inman Diary: A Public and Private Confession 
edited by Daniel Aaron.
Harvard, 1661 pp., £35.95, March 1986, 0 674 45445 6
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... wakes she was appalled at his appearance, as we learn from the editor’s coda to the diary: ‘Joseph, Mary and Jesus,’ she says she said, ‘what have they done to you?’ The Arthur who loathed perfume and powder and who more than once had ordered his girls to scrub the paint off their faces was gussied up with cosmetics, It made her laugh and cry. She ...

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