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Life and Letters

The Book Review invites readers to contribute excerpts (not exceeding 150 words) from books. Please send with the excerpt the title of the book, its author, publisher and the page on which it appears, to the Editor, The Book Review, F-24 Bhagat Singh Market, New Delhi-110 001.   There was a lively debate between G.B. Shaw and RG. Wells when they returned from a trip to Russia after the Revolution, with wildly differ­ing accounts. When Kingsley Martin of New Statesman expressed a desire to make a pamphlet of this debate Wells told him: ‘Of course it must be published as a pamphlet—I want it to be in permanent form. Shaw has behaved like a cad and he ought to be exposed.’ Shaw: ‘Och no. I have a great respect for my old friend RG. He has made a perfect ass of himself and I would not want it put on perma­nent record.’                                                     - From Confessions of a Writer by Vincent Brome.                                                                     x        x      x          x   Many critics maintain that the essay is an inferior form; and many publishers believe that modern readers care only for long distance, marathon writing .... - From the Foreword to Kenneth Tynan's collection of New Yorker profile-essays, Show People: Profiles in Entertainment.                                                                            x    x      x   Mark Goulden, chairman of W.H. Allen, in his memoirs, Mark My Word refers to the story of Manny who died when a huge volume of poems (The Canterbury Tales) fell from the 30th storey window on Madison Avenue and struck him between the eyes.           A wit at the inquest said that poor Manny had been killed by a ‘flying Chaucer’.                                                                         x            x          x   When Professor Frank George said in the Unilever magazine in 1969 that ‘the potential of the computer in the world of thought is perhaps as great, if not greater, than that of the human being', he meant, of course, 'as great as, if not greater than, that of the human being', but his incoherent gram­mar chokes me less than does the awful threat.                                                                  - From The flight of English by Basil Cottle.                                                                x          x          x   Gary Gilmore, sentenced to death for shooting down a service station attendant and a motel manager, sent an invitation to his execution:             BANG! BANG!             A real live Shoot 'em up!         Mrs Bessie Gilmore of Milwaukie, Ore, cor­dially invites you to the execution of her son: Gary Mark Gilmore, 36. Place: Utah ...

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