Poking The Octupus

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The good old English language enjoys a famously unstable vocabulary and an astonishing history of borrowing words from abroad. In Chaucer’s time, foreign loans accounted for practically half the lingo – and today that figure may be half as much again. Every time another dictionary appears, some logologists express their horror at the welter of […]

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Jeremy Lewis On A Selection Of Tales From Literary Life

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The most striking thing about Melissa Katsoulis’s Telling Tales: A History of Literary Hoaxes is its cover, a faded-looking pastiche of an old 1950s Penguin, coffee-stained in places and with a strip of sellotape covering a tear. It suits her subject matter perfectly, since her book is a sketchy but entertaining survey of literary hoaxes, from […]

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The Shakespeared Britain

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

In Shakespeare what is apparently a small matter is actually often a big deal made seemingly small only because it is happening at pace. The moment of a decision in Macbeth, of a death in Lear: they are no sooner there than gone, with hardly time for the thing to sink in. Says poor Phebe […]

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RLF - March