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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Skinning Dogs and Farming Gunge

Emily Cockayne's new book, Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England, 1600-1770, is now sullying bookstore shelves.

It was a muddy, desperate world of licentious fustilugs, determined dog-skinners, essential gunge-farmers, and rootling "piggs," of dissolute rakehells, and the drabs who serviced them, a world of urban dunghills and city "hog-styes," a world inhabited by people marked by tetters, morphew, "psorophtalmy" (eyebrow dandruff, since you ask), and pocky itch, and clothed in grogram tailored by botchers. If you suspect that one of the many pleasures of "Hubbub" is the exuberant vocabulary that so enriches the texts cited by its author, you'd be right. [Link]

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